Hamilton City Council is offering to waive rent for community groups and commercial tenants that are unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-19.
Tenants of Council-owned property, including community groups, sports clubs, businesses operating from council facilities (such as cafes, tourist operations etc) and other businesses that can demonstrate hardship, are eligible for rent relief for three months.
The decision was made at a Council meeting on 27 March as part of a 12-point recovery plan to help the city withstand the social and economic impacts of COVID-19.
Hamilton City Netball applied “within seconds” of the announcement, after the virus put a halt to all levels of winter sport competitions before most seasons had even started.
Centre Manager Clare Frankhouser says the rent relief has provided a small buffer, but there is still work to be done to salvage the netball season.
“We’re grateful for the rent relief provided by Council and jumped at the opportunity to apply. Any little bit will help to get our season back up and running.
“We were in the middle of resurfacing the courts and upgrading the amenities block in a joint project with the Council and Trust Waikato, when we went to Alert Level 4. All works have been forced to stop,” says Mrs Frankhouser.
The Council has two teams working through applications, with the Parks and Recreation Unit looking after community groups including Hamilton City Netball. Around 75% of the 104 eligible community groups are sports clubs, with 30 applications received to date. The Strategic Property Unit are looking after the remaining 46 commercial tenants, with 30 applications received to date.
Council’s City Growth General Manager Jen Baird says Council has received very positive feedback from tenants and in some cases, it has meant the difference between being able to continue their business or not.
“The community groups and other businesses who rent various Council facilities are an essential part of our community. This is a small thing we can do to try and ease the burden on them during this time.”
The relief is available for all community and commercial tenants that have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the three-month period from 1 April to 30 June 2020, when compared with the same months last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19.
“We’re encouraging all eligible groups to apply. The sooner applications are in, the sooner we can start providing rent relief to those in need,” says Ms Baird.