Further Commercial Tenancy Update (COVID-19) – By Jesse Rankine
The Victorian Government has now passed the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (“the Act”) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Act empowers the government to issue regulations which will alter the rights and responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants of commercial leases and licences. The foreshadowed regulations will be designed to encompass the ‘Code of Conduct’ which was released by the National Cabinet last month. For a full outline of the Code of Conduct please refer to our recent publication at the following web address:
The exact wording of the regulations is currently unknown which is creating uncertainty for Landlords and Tenants alike. We will provide a further update regarding the regulations once they are available.
One important distinction between the Act and the Code of Conduct is the eligibility test. The Act indicates that the temporary rules will apply where the Tenant is a participant in the JobKeeper scheme. This should be contrasted with the Code of Conduct which states that it applies where the Tenant is eligible for JobKeeper. Victorian Tenants wishing to gain the protections of the Code of Conduct should therefore ensure that they are participating in that scheme if they are eligible to do so.
The Act (and any subsequent regulations under that Act) is effective from 29 March 2020 for a period of 6 months.
Should you have any queries regarding the Act or the Code of Conduct and how they may impact your business please do not hesitate to contact our office.