Our Blog

Code of Practice for Commerical Tenancies

Peter Sa - Friday, April 03, 2020

A copy of the Prime Minister's transcript today discussing a code of practice for commerical tenancies is outlined below. While the code remains a draft at this stage, the PM is hoping to have a final draft by next Tuesday.

On commercial leases. As you know, we've been working on this issue for some time and I have, had hoped we'd be in a position to have finalised this today and we are very close to doing that. And the National Cabinet considered the proposals that came forward. An industry code of practice for commercial tenancies, including retail tenancies, has been worked on by the various stakeholder groups representing tenants and landlords over the course of the next few days, that industry code as the the National Cabinet reviewed that today, has not got to the point that we believe it needs to get to to ensure a sufficient security for tenants and landlords that are affected by these arrangements. What we are seeking to have happen is for the industry to complete their code and that code will be made a mandatory code, incorporated into state and territory legislation where appropriate. Where it will be mandatory for tenancies. That is the tenant and the landlord, where they have a turnover of less than 50 million and they are a participant in the JobKeeper program. As you know, the JobKeeper program has a threshold which has a 30 per cent loss of revenue. If you're in that situation and you're a tenant, then we will be working to implement a mandatory code of practice regarding the negotiations, the discussions that you will now have with your landlord to ensure that both of you, the landlord and the tenant, can get through this next period and on the other side be able to go back to business as usual and enable those businesses to succeed. And the landlord also to succeed in the future. What is important as part of this code is that both parties negotiate in good faith, that there is a proportionality principle that needs to be in this code. And that proportionality principle is simply this, that the turnover reduction of the tenant needs to be reflected in the rental waiver of the landlord. Now, how that is done inside the lease is up to the landlord and the tenant. There are many different ways you can achieve this. If, for example, there was a 3 or 6 month rental waiver because a lessee, a tenant would have had to close their doors and there's just simply no money coming in. Then one way to achieve that is to extend the overall lease by 6 months on the other side, if they're going to give a rental waiver. Similarly, they could agree to a different level of rent over the entire term of the lease. And that was shared over a longer period of time. These are things that we do not wish to be prescriptive about. What we want to do is have landlords and tenants in the room to ensure that they can work these issues out between them, so they can have an arrangement which enables them to get through this period and to get to the other side. The banks will need to come to the party as well. The banks are not parties to those arrangements. And so that makes it legally a little more difficult. But banks are already moving to providing all sorts of new facilities and arrangements to their customers. And we would expect banks to be very supportive of the agreements reached by landlords and tenants who would be working under this mandatory code. But I stress, again, I, we would like as a national cabinet for this to be done by industry and for them to finalize a code with this proportionality principle as quickly as possible so we can move to have that adopted into state and territory regulation as a matter of a mandatory arrangement. Now, if you're in that arrangement, which you would be required to enter into, if you're in the terms that I said, then you would be, have that protection of of issues around evictions. You would have the protections around claims on penalties or acting on guarantees of interest protection on rent, on all of these matters, you would be protected. Also, the landlord will be protected in that the lease would not be able to be terminated on those grounds. So there's give and take on this, give and take, those tenants and landlords are being encouraged to sit around that table and get that done now. The mandatory code would require it. And if you sit outside the mandatory code, then you are leaving yourselves out in the cold. So with those measures, we are looking forward to make further progress. States would also, under those arrangements, be looking to provide various exemptions and and waivers and reductions to some of their fees and rates. But we're looking to see that industry code come in place to ensure we can make progress more quickly. And that was the arrangement we came to today. And National Cabinet will consider this again at the latest on Tuesday morning. And if we're able to come to an arrangement before then, then we would convene to make that possible.

Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image