Date: 28 March 2020
The Early Childhood Council is asking landlords to ease pressure on Early Childhood Education centres by suspending or reducing rents for at least the COVID-19 level 4 lockdown period.
“We’re advising centres to suspend charging parent fees, but keep paying teacher salaries. Rent relief would go a long way toward balancing the books” said Early Childhood Council CEO Peter Reynolds.
Best Start, New Zealand’s largest provider of ECE centres, has already asked their landlords for a rent holiday and the ECC encourages all centres in New Zealand to do the same.
“We’re asking landlords to think of the long term. Many ECE centres are struggling to meet teacher wage costs, even with the government’s wage subsidy. We fear that without rent support, centres will be forced to fold under the financial pressure so that children, parents, teachers, centre owners and landlords all lose out,” said Mr Reynolds.
The Auckland District Law Society Deed of Lease, one of New Zealand’s most common lease templates, includes a clause allowing tenants to stop paying rent when they are unable to access their premises, such as in the case of a national shutdown.
The ECC believes this reasonable step should apply to all ECE centres that rent or lease their premises during the COVID-19 level 4 lockdown.
“We encourage all centres on lease or rental properties to start the rent holiday conversation with their landlords and will provide resources to help. If your landlord refuses, let us know,” said Mr Reynolds.
The Early Childhood Council is the key sector body representing over 1200 centres around New Zealand. We strive to support our members to deliver quality early childcare education for New Zealand children by championing those who provide it.