Commercial Rent Relief

Written by: The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

Earlier in the year The Government announced a range of measures to help tenants and landlords affected by COVID-19 for the period during which the Commonwealth JobKeeper program remains operational.

This included a temporary hold on evictions and a mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancies to support small and medium sized enterprises.

For some states, extensions to these measures have now been introduced to assist landlords to negotiate in good faith with regard to the principles of the National Code. These measures are intended to expand the easing of financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords because of COVID-19.

You can find out how to access assistance through your relevant state or territory below.

Commercial Tenancy Relief Extended

Australian Capital Territory
An extension of the Commercial Tenancies Declaration was updated 10th September 2020. The new Declaration maintains the requirement for a landlord to engage in good faith negotiations with an impacted tenant before moving to terminate the lease or take other action against the tenant. The definition of an impacted tenant in the new Declaration reflects upcoming changes to the JobKeeper scheme that will be in effect from 28th September 2020. The new Declaration comes into effect on 28th September. It will stay in place until no later than 31st January 2021.
ACT – Commercial Tenancies

South Australia
Legislation has been introduced in South Australia to extend the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 to assist businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation is due to be debated in the Legislative Council in the week commencing 21st September 2020. Briefly, the Regulations impose an obligation on parties to commercial leases to negotiate in good faith.
Subject to the successful passage of this legislation, the current regulations will be amended and extended to 3rd January 2021.
SA – Retail and Commercial Leases affected by COVID-19

On the 20th August 2020 the Victorian Government announced plans for an extension to the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS) until 31st December 2020. By extending this scheme negotiations for rent relief between a commercial tenant and their landlord must now consider this legislation and the revised extension date.
Victorian Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund has been created in recognition of small, private landlords who may not have the capacity to provide rent reductions to their tenants under the requirements of the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme. Applications for the fund opened on the 21st August 2020.

Western Australia
WA – Commercial tenancies – COVID-19 response
The Western Australian State Government has decided to extend the emergency period under the Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 (WA) until 28th March 2021. This means that the existing laws, including the moratorium on evictions, freeze on rent increases and code of conduct will apply until this date. In line with the Government’s modified JobKeeper program, the protections will be targeted to apply only to those tenants who experience financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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