Small business owners are the forgotten victims of Sydney’s lockout laws, according to Malcolm Gunning, the former president of the Real Estate Institute of NSW and the principal of leading commercial property agency, Gunning.
The lockout laws have created a "dire situation" for business owners operating within the Sydney CBD and the Kings Cross area, says Gunning.
“We recently conducted a rent review on a pharmacy, a thriving business until a few years go, which determined rent needed to be dropped by half,” said Gunning. “The result is not necessarily a windfall for the tenant, because it reflects the poor trading conditions on Darlinghurst Road. The lockout laws have deprecated the value of the premises by half. This is not an isolated case."
Gunning said it is well known that most, if not all tenants, in Kings Cross are not meeting their rental commitments and the landlords are fearful of terminating the leases because they won’t get another tenant.
"The time has come for the government to take responsibility and compensate business owners many of which, in good faith bought into the area during the Olympics and created entertainment hubs with the support of the government," he said. "While the government believes it is necessary to have a social conscious, they must also develop a conscious in regard to the economy and those who are losing their livelihoods. It appears it is only a matter of time before these laws are extended to other areas and small business owners in Newtown could face a similar situation if this goes ahead."