On 29 September 2020 the Queensland Government enacted changes to the Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 (Regulation). This was just in time, given the original response period (which operated 29 March 2020 to 30 September 2020) was about to expire, causing much uncertainty between affected tenants and landlords alike about their rights and obligations in the period 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020.
A summary of the most significant commercial effects of the revised Regulation are:
- the period 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020 is termed the extension period;
- a lease is an affected lease during the extension period only if the tenant (or relevant entity) is eligible for the Jobkeeper scheme for the period starting on 28 September 2020 and ending on 4 January 2021 (which under the extended Jobkeeper scheme will require a re-test based on September quarterly figures);
- similarly to the response period, the landlord must not undertake a prescribed action in the extension period. A prescribed action includes (amongst other actions) any attempts to terminate the lease, evict the tenant or re-enter the premises;
- the landlord must offer a rent reduction in the extension period, however unlike the original response period the landlord is not required to provide half of the rent reduction for the extension period as a waiver; and
- similarly to the response period, the rent reduction related to the extension period must be amortised over a period of not less than two years but not greater than three years.
If you require any advice or assistance in regard to your rights and negotiations under the Regulation, either as landlord or tenant, please contact our Commercial + Property Team for assistance.