The McGowan Government has introduced a new code of conduct to help commercial tenants and landlords reach agreements about rent during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The code applies to small businesses, including retail stores, with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and which qualify for the JobKeeper scheme or have experienced a decline in turnover of 30 per cent or more during the emergency period (six months from 30 March 2020). Small charities only need to show a 15 per cent reduction in turnover.
The code provides guidelines to assist commercial tenants and landlords to negotiate a rent relief agreement during COVID-19 to ensure businesses survive the economic downturn associated with the pandemic. It implements the key principles of a national code released by National Cabinet last month.
The code outlines a process for tenants to request rent relief and landlords are required to:
- offer relief at least proportionate to the reduction in turnover that the business has suffered; and
- provide at least half of that rent relief as a waiver, with the rest to be either deferred or waived.