Eligibility, fees and how to apply

How do I know if I'm eligible for the services?

The same eligibility criteria apply to both arbitration and mediation services. The services are available for disputes about payment of rent where:

  • parties have not previously come to an agreement about payment of rent during the relevant lockdown period (Alert Level 3 or 4 nationally or regionally where the lease site is located)
  • the tenant has experienced a material loss of revenue during a lockdown period due to Government COVID-19 restrictions.

‘A material loss of revenue’ could be a significant decline in revenue, or if the tenant has received the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy (external link)or COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension(external link)

In addition, a least one party needs to:

  • be New Zealand based and
  • have 20 or fewer full-time equivalent staff per lease site.

New Zealand-based means the business is registered and operating in New Zealand, physically located in New Zealand and its employees can legally work in New Zealand.

Sole traders are not required to be registered with the Companies Office but must have a personal IRD number for paying income tax and GST, government licences and permits for their business needs and qualifications or registrations for their trade or profession.

A full-time employee works 30 hours or more per week. To calculate the total number of full-time staff:

  • one full-time employee is equal to two part-time employees. A part-time employee works less than 30 hours per week.
  • if an employee works variable hours, calculate the average hours worked each week over the last 12 months, or if less than 12 months, the average hours worked since employment began.

For more information on eligibility, see:

COVID-19 Commercial Lease Dispute Services - Full Eligibility Criteria [PDF, 119 KB]

Fees and charges

Arbitration services will be subsidised up to $6,000 (including GST) per dispute. Participants need to fund any remaining costs of the service up to a maximum of $2,000.

Mediation services will be fully funded, up to a value of $4,000 (including GST) per dispute.

The subsidy is paid to the supplier of the services, not to either of the parties. Any rent agreed to be paid or returned will be the responsibility of the tenant and landlord.

How do I apply?

You can apply for the subsidised services by contacting one of the Ministry-approved suppliers listed below. The subsidy is only available if you use specific suppliers approved by the Ministry. You cannot access the subsidy more than once.

The supplier will explain what you need to do to get started. One of the first steps will be completing an eligibility form to declare that you're eligible for the subsidy.

Immediation NZFairway Resolution LimitedNew Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre
  0800 774 408 09 486 7153
0508 DISPUTE (0508 347 7883)
Immediation website(external link) Fairway website(external link) NZDRC website(external link)

For more information, email arbitration@justice.govt.nz