The federal government has released a mandatory Code of Conduct for all commercial tenancies in Australia, setting a national standard for responses to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Code sets the requirement for good faith leasing principles between commercial tenants and landlords, where the tenant is a small to medium sized business with a turnover of up to $50 million and a business eligible for the federal government’s JobKeeper program.
State governments will now be required to legislate and/or regulate the Code, which will require a rent reduction that is proportional to a commercial tenant’s downturn in earnings during the COVID-19 crisis.
A copy of the Code is available here.
Residential Tenancy Update
The Prime Minister also advised on 7 April 2020 that all future decisions relating to the implementation of the residential eviction moratorium and associated activities are now the responsibility of state governments. DMIRS has advised that Consumer Protection is now working on amending tenancy laws to enact a six month moratorium on evictions in Western Australia. While they work through this complex task, the Department has answered a number of FAQs regarding residential tenancies on their website, available here.
DMIRS have stressed that in the meantime, tenants should continue to pay rent where they can and tenants and landlords should try to make mutually agreeable arrangements if this is not possible.