Since our last fact sheet on the Tenancies COVID-19 Response Acts 2020, the WA State Government has extended the commercial tenancy laws until March 28, 2021. This is in line with the Commonwealth Government’s modified JobKeeper program. As before, these protections are targeted to apply only to those tenants who, due to COVID-19, need it.
The Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 applies to small commercial leases during the emergency period. From 30 September 2020, some changes have been made to how the legislation applies. Protections in the Act include:
- A moratorium on evictions due to non-payment of rent;
- A freeze on rent increases;
- A restriction on penalties for tenants who do not trade or reduce their trading hours;
- Landlords may not make a claim on any form of security (e.g. bank guarantee/security deposit) to satisfy the lease
- Landlords may not take action against a tenant for a breach that occurred after 30 March 2020.
For the period from 30 March 2020 to 29 September 2020, these protections apply to all small commercial leases.
Who Can Qualify for the Extended period?
From 30 September 2020 to 28 March 2021 changes have been made so that these protections apply only to eligible tenants:
- Tenants who continue to qualify for JobKeeper, or
- a reduction in turnover of 30 per cent or more compared to the same period last year.
The WA Government has introduced a code of conduct to help commercial tenants and landlords reach agreements about rent during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Under the WA Code, landlords and tenants are required to negotiate in good faith to reach temporary arrangements about rent relief to be provided by landlords during the emergency period. The WA Code requires landlords and tenants to act reasonably and in good faith with openness, honesty and transparency.
If you require any assistance or advice with disputes or negotiations, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.