COVID-19 Commercial Lease Disputes: Arbitration and Mediation

Low Cost Fixed Fee Scheme

NZDRC offers a special fixed fee service for disputes between parties to a Commercial Lease agreement impacted by the Government restrictions to combat COVID-19.

The Government funded arbitration and mediation scheme came to an end at the end of June 2021. For this reason, NZDRC has launched a special fixed fee arbitration and mediation service to assist parties to commercial leases who find themselves in dispute about the payment of rent and outgoings due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. This fixed fee service is streamlined to ensure parties can access a prompt and cost-effective process.

Our fixed fee service is in addition to our existing offerings including arbitration, mediation and expert determination for other types of disputes arising under, out of, or in connection with, commercial leases. Such disputes often typically involve disputes concerning, among other things, rent renewals, reinstatement of premises, and repair, replacement and maintenance of the property, premises and/or fixtures and fittings.

For further information, please contact our Registry staff.


Mediation is a consensual, confidential, and informal negotiation process in which parties to a dispute use the services of a skilled and independent mediator to assist them to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement of that dispute which meets their interests and needs and which need not conform to strict legal rights or general community standards.

To proceed under this fixed fee service, the parties will need to agree to mediate under the NZDRC Mediation Rules.  Parties can do this by completing our Agreement to Mediate.

The mediation itself will take place by videoconference and will be limited to a half day (up to four hours). Lockdown levels do not affect this service – mediation can take place as soon as the parties are ready.

The fee for this service is fixed at $3,000 (including GST). This fee is applicable for mediation between two parties. Please contact us for further information and pricing if your dispute involves more than two parties.


Arbitration is a legal process governed by the Arbitration Act 1996 under which an arbitrator decides matters in dispute according to the law. The arbitrator’s decision is binding on the parties. 

To proceed under this fixed fee service, the parties will need to agree to arbitrate under the NZDRC COVID-19 Arbitration Rules (fixed fee scheme).  Parties can do this by completing this Agreement to Arbitrate.

These Rules provide for a ‘documents only’ arbitration process. In other words, the parties will exchange their submissions and evidence in writing and there will be no hearing. The process is specifically designed to result in a decision within 45 working days.

The cost of the arbitration is fixed as follows (all prices include GST):

Lease under which rental (not including OPEX) of $100k is payable per annum $3,000
Lease under which rental (not including OPEX) of between $100k and $200k is payable per annum $4,500
Lease under which rental (not including OPEX) of $200k or more is payable per annum $6,000

Please contact the Registrar for any further information.

Skip to content