UPDATE: Queensland and Victorian governments extend Regulation on Commercial Leases

Key takeaways

  • The Queensland Government has extended the moratorium on evictions for commercial leaseholders until 31 December 2020
  • The Victorian Government has extended the ban on evictions and rental increases until 31 December 2020.
  • The New South Wales Government amended their Regulation on 3 July 2020

Queensland

On 16 September 2020 the Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, the Honourable Yvette D’Ath issued a statement announcing that the Queensland Government was extending the moratorium on evictions for commercial leaseholders until 31 December 2020. 

The statement also noted that Tenants have until that date to “come forward and received assistance under the Code”.

It is unclear in the statement whether the intention is for the government to extend the Response Period under the Regulation which is due to expire on 30 September 2020, in which case all protections for Tenants under the Regulation would continue until the extended date, or whether there will just be an extension on the time under which Landlords are prohibited from taking Prescribed Actions. 

We are still investigating how the statement will be implemented in the Regulation. 

A copy of the statement can be found here:  https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/90766.

Victoria

On 20 August 2020 the Victorian Government extended the ban on evictions and rental increases until 31 December 2020. 

In addition to this extension the government has also indicated that the Victorian Small Business Commissioner will also have greater capacity to make orders granting rent relief to Tenants if Landlords refuse to respond to a Tenant’s rent relief request. 

The Victorian Government passed the COVID-19 Commercial and Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Extension) Act 2020 on 4 September 2020.  That Act extended the overall ability of the government to make laws with respect to retail and non-retail commercial leases until 26 April 2021.  However, we are not yet aware of an amendment to the ‘Response Period’ in the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulation 2020.  This will be required to put into effect the government’s statement and, as with the Queensland statement, the details of the changes to the Regulations are still being investigated. 

A copy of the statement can be found here:  https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/pause-evictions-extended-and-extra-renter-protections. . 

New South Wales

The New South Wales Government amended their Regulation on 3 July 2020 in publishing the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Amendment Regulations 2020

That amendment introduced the following changes:-

  1. Clarified that Landlords are prohibited from taking certain actions against impacted Tenants of commercial leases;
  2. Required impacted Tenants to give a statement to Landlords that they are impacted and to provided evidence; and,
  3. Clarified the application of certain clauses in a Lease against impacted Tenants such as claims for non-COVID related issues.

The Prescribed Period in the New South Wales regulations expires on 24 October 2020 and at this stage the government has not issued a statement indicating it will extend this period. 

The information in this blog is intended only to provide a general overview and has not been prepared with a view to any particular situation or set of circumstances. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. While we attempt to ensure the information is current and accurate we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the information in this blog as it may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances.