15 April 2020
The Minister for Economic Development Senator Lyndon Farnham has published guidance to be followed by landlords and tenants of commercial property during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The guidance offers a practical framework of steps for landlords and tenants to follow when dealing with issues arising from financial hardship or practical impediments to them fulfilling their lease obligations during COVID-19.
The guidance promotes the need for both tenants and landlords to behave appropriately, offering one another business flexibility and pragmatism, during this challenging time.
The guidance enables tenants and landlords to agree voluntary temporary alternative arrangements for the payment of rent and other payment obligations including:
• full and partial rent/payment deferral
• full and partial rent/payment holidays
• early termination of lease
It also offers a voluntary process for tenants and landlords to follow which allows either or both to be released from lease obligations where they are unable to continue these obligations as a result of Covid-19 or financial hardship.
These voluntary arrangements made under the guidance are to be made in writing and signed by both parties so that they can later be relied on.
The Courts will be able to enforce the guidance and any such voluntary arrangements once COVID-19 is over.
In this way, the guidance will help landlords and tenants deal with the aftermath of COVID-19 once all the Government emergency measures are withdrawn.
The Minister for Economic Development Senator Lyndon Farnham said: “This guidance aims to offer another level of security for those businesses and individuals who may find themselves struggling due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The Government doesn’t want to see any business falter during these times and it is our prerogative to ensure suitable measures of support are given, not only with regards to financial problems, but also any legal issues which may arise.
“The guidance offers a balanced approach to ensure neither tenant or landlord are unfairly disadvantaged. I hope this means people can continue to work together, with a long-term approach, to maintain robust and reasonable behaviours which will protect our local economy.”
For more information please see the Government support for business page.