We can help you with COVID-19 related business and legal challenges. Click here to visit our COVID-19 HUB with our latest updates and resources

Will COVID rent relief be extended?

July 2020

Real Estate partner Kristy Dorney says the Federal Government's decision to extend the JobKeeper programme to 28 March 2021 raises the question: will the State and Territory COVID rent relief regulations also be extended?

Background

When the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct—SME Commercial Leasing Principles During COVID-19 (National Code) was released, Australia was effectively in lockdown.

Borders had closed, mass gatherings were prohibited, specific industries were directed to cease trading, and across the country people were directed to only leave their homes for strictly limited purposes.

The JobKeeper regime was introduced to assist impacted businesses to keep staff employed despite the inevitable drop in turnover caused by the pandemic and Government directives.

The National Code secured additional relief for impacted tenants by requiring lessors to grant rent and other relief while the JobKeeper programme was operational.

What's next for COVID rent relief?

Each State and Territory passed legislation and regulations to implement the National Code. However, in most jurisdictions, the legislation automatically ends six months from commencement rather than when the JobKeeper programme ends. For background information about the National Code please click here and for a recent article on Queensland's commercial leasing code click here.

The 'whole of country' restrictions in place when the National Code was introduced have been lifted. However, with second wave restrictions in place in and around Melbourne and Sydney, it remains to be seen what, if any, steps will be taken in the State regulations to address this latest extension of the JobKeeper programme.

We will keep you updated with any changes in this area. In the meantime, please contact us if you have any queries about the National Code or COVID rent relief in your State or Territory.