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A moratorium on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenancies will take effect shortly. It will be available for tenants in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of coronavirus.

Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions have been encouraged to sit down together to find solutions that suit their specific situations. A common set of principles to guide such discussions have been agreed to by the National Cabinet:

  • tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease;
  • the reduction or waiver of rental payment for a defined period for impacted tenants;
  • the ability for tenants to terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress;
  • commercial property owners should ensure that any benefits received in respect of their properties should also benefit their tenants in proportion to the economic impact caused by coronavirus;
  • landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements; and
  • cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance.

The Australian Banking Association has announced that all Australian businesses with a loan with an Australian bank of up to $10 million will be eligible to defer repayments for six months, including commercial landlords. In order for commercial landlords to access the package, they will have to give an undertaking that they will not terminate the leases or evict any of their tenants that are in arrears because of coronavirus.

It is expected that further measures around leasing will be announced in the coming days. The Federal Government has alluded to a wage subsidy of $1,500 per employee per fortnight for businesses to be announced later today.

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Commercial leasing during COVID-19

30 March 2020

A moratorium on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenancies will take effect shortly. It will be available for tenants in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of coronavirus.

Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions have been encouraged to sit down together to find solutions that suit their specific situations. A common set of principles to guide such discussions have been agreed to by the National Cabinet:

  • tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease;
  • the reduction or waiver of rental payment for a defined period for impacted tenants;
  • the ability for tenants to terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress;
  • commercial property owners should ensure that any benefits received in respect of their properties should also benefit their tenants in proportion to the economic impact caused by coronavirus;
  • landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements; and
  • cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance.

The Australian Banking Association has announced that all Australian businesses with a loan with an Australian bank of up to $10 million will be eligible to defer repayments for six months, including commercial landlords. In order for commercial landlords to access the package, they will have to give an undertaking that they will not terminate the leases or evict any of their tenants that are in arrears because of coronavirus.

It is expected that further measures around leasing will be announced in the coming days. The Federal Government has alluded to a wage subsidy of $1,500 per employee per fortnight for businesses to be announced later today.