The Prime Minister has released a Mandatory Code of Conduct to support landlords and tenants. It is yet to be implemented into the state legislation and that will be announced.
It only applies to Commercial tenancies for which the tenants are under $50m and are under financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19. If you are eligible for JobKeeper payments, you are automatically considered under financial hardship.
A quick summary as it applies to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Landlords must not terminate leases due to non-payment of rent.
- Tenants must remain committed to the terms of their lease.
- Rent waivers and deferrals combined must equal the turnover reduction of the tenant. Waivers must be at least half of this reduction
- For example, if a tenant has a 30% reduction in turnover then the landlord is to offer a minimum 15% reduction Rent Free and the balance as Rent Deferred.
- If the landlord does not have the financial ability to provide for the required level of Rent Free amounts, the tenants may waive the requirement by agreement.
- The tenant must repay Rent Deferred over the balance of the lease term or two years, whichever is greater.
- The tenant should be provided with an opportunity to extend its lease for an equivalent period of the Rent Free and/or Rent Deferral period
- Rent increases will be frozen for the duration of the pandemic and a reasonable recovery period.
- Any reductions in statutory charges (Land Tax or Rates) should be passed onto the tenant.
- Where appropriate, landlords must waive recovery of outgoings from the tenant if the tenant is not able to trade. Associated services will not need to be provided in this instance (i.e. repairs).
- Landlords must not draw on held security for any non-payment of rent during the pandemic.
If an agreement cannot be reached, each State will be introducing a binding mediation service. Each State is currently working on a Residential tenancies code and further updates will be posted. To date, only a moratorium on evictions has been issued from the Federal Government, who are leaving any further details to the individual States.
Code of Conduct
Financial Review Article
Updated 8th April 2020.