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Commercial rent relief: A state-by-state breakdown

Here’s what these packages entail for businesses around the country.
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Commercial rent relief: A state-by-state breakdown

Commercial rent relief: A state-by-state breakdown

17 April 2020

Following the announcement of the Federal Government’s intention to implement a rental relief code of conduct to support landlords and tenants during the coronavirus crisis, state governments have begun to introduce measures to help. Here’s what these packages entail for businesses around the country.
 

NEW SOUTH WALES

Under a new $440 million relief scheme, NSW commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19 will have greater protection from evictions and the opportunity to negotiate reduced rents with landlords. The scheme will be available to businesses that have lost at least 30% of their revenue as a result of the pandemic.

The government has said it will enforce a temporary code of conduct, which will include the following measures:
  • landlords must negotiate rent relief agreements, such as reduced rent or rental holidays, with tenants impacted by COVID-19
  • a ban on evictions due to non-payment of rent
  • a freeze on rent increases.
It also includes land tax discounts for landlords who provide rental relief to their tenants over the next three months.

The scheme has yet to take effect but the NSW Government has said it aims to pass legislation as soon as possible.


QUEENSLAND

The Queensland Government has committed over $400 million to support landlords and tenants affected by COVID-19.

As part of the relief package, the government will provide a discount of up to 25% on land tax to landlords. Savings must be passed on to tenants in the form of rent relief.

This means if you’re a commercial tenant in Queensland and your landlord is eligible for land tax relief, you can negotiate a rent reduction or rent holiday for up to three months.

Find out more about the Queensland government’s support for landlords and tenants.


VICTORIA

The Victorian Government has said it is working towards assistance measures to help landlords and tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although no legislation has been passed yet, it’s expected there will be a moratorium on evictions for six months for businesses that are struggling to pay rent. Landlords are also encouraged to provide rent relief or holidays to businesses in financial distress.

The Victorian Government has also introduced a $500 million Business Support Fund to support small businesses in hard-hit sectors. Eligible businesses can apply for a one-off $10,000 grant, which can be used towards costs such as rent.

Find out more about the Victorian Business Support Fund.


WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The WA Government is in the process of passing legislation to support commercial and residential tenancies. The state’s Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 will introduce:
  • a moratorium on evictions for six months
  • a ban on rent increases during the emergency period
  • a provision that any fixed term tenancy agreement due to expire during the pandemic will continue as a periodic agreement
  • a provision that a tenant can end a fixed-term tenancy before its end date without incurring break lease fees.

Find out more about support for commercial and residential tenants and landlords in Western Australia.


TASMANIA

The Tasmanian Government has introduced the COVID-19 Disease (Emergency Provisions) Act 2020, which includes protection for both commercial and residential tenants.

The Act includes:
  • a ban on evictions due to financial hardship as a result of COVID-19
  • a reduction of rent by mutual agreement between the landlord and tenant
  • a stipulation that tenants are permitted to break their lease due to hardship.

Additionally, the Tasmanian government has introduced various grants to support small businesses impacted by the pandemic. This includes a one-off Small Business Emergency Support Grant of $2,500 available to small businesses in significantly impacted industries.

Find out more about the Tasmania Government’s COVID-19 rent relief, grants and loans.


ACT

The ACT Government has said it will introduce a scheme that provides relief for business tenants and owner-operated commercial properties.

Support levels will be based on need, in line with the following categories:
  • Category 1 – businesses that have been partially or not affected
  • Category 2 – businesses that have been significantly affected (at least 30% reduction in business income)
  • Category 3 – businesses that have been forced to shut down operations due to COVID-19 health restrictions.
Details regarding what support will look like have not yet been clarified, but the ACT Government is urging landlords and tenants to work together to reach an agreement that allows the business to bounce back when the time is right.

Stay up-to-date on commercial tenancy relief in the ACT.


SOUTH AUSTRALIA AND THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

At the time of writing, the SA and NT Governments are still in discussions as to how they will help local commercial tenants and landlords. We will update this page with this information when it becomes available.



This article was originally published on Business Australia on the 16th April, 2020 and can be viewed here.

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