COVID-19 Update 3 April 2020: Commercial Tenancy Coronavirus Crisis Code of Practice coming to a contract near you next week.

COVID-19 Update 3 April 2020: Commercial Tenancy Coronavirus Crisis Code of Practice coming to a contract near you next week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this afternoon has urged commercial landlords and tenants to come to an agreement in relation to financial hardship as the Government reserves announcement regarding a mandatory Coronavirus Industry Code of Practice to be announced and imposed next week.

The National Cabinet was not able to reach agreement today, Friday 3 April 2020 on the conditions to ensure fairness both for tenants and their landlords and their ongoing financial security amid the current crisis.   

The mandatory code will apply to tenants where they have a turnover of less than 50 million and are part of the Job-Keeper program.

The PM strongly suggested to businesses that have to shut their doors for at least 3 months, that tenants and landlords should agree to extend the lease for three months at the end of the agreement to make up the lost revenue.

The PM also was very clear that the current crisis was no excuse for tenants who have not had a significant reduction in turnover to renege on their contractual obligations of their leasing agreements to their landlord.

We can expect the announcement regarding the Commercial Tenancy COVID-19 Crisis Code of Practice to echo the firm stance already taken earlier this week regarding residential tenants. Renters who are experiencing financial hardship during this pandemic are protection from eviction during this pandemic, they are not exempt from paying that rent, albeit at a later date, stating:

“There is a moratorium on evictions. That doesn’t mean there is a moratorium on rents”.

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