As the coronavirus pandemic continues to strangle businesses, the federal government is encouraging landlords to put a six month moratorium on commercial and residential evictions.
In making the announcement to the nation on Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the National Cabinet had approved the moratorium and advised all tenants to get in touch with their landlords to discuss their particular situation but advised the detail on the plan was still being confirmed.
“States and territories will be moving to put a moratorium on evictions of persons as a result of financial distress if they are unable to meet their commitments. And so there will be a moratorium on evictions for the next six months under those rental arrangements,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in the televised address.
“There is a lot more work to be done here and my message to tenants, particularly commercial tenants and commercial landlords, is a very straightforward one.
“We need you to sit down, talk to each other and work this out about looking at the businesses which have been closed, businesses that may have had a significant reduction in their revenues and we need landlords and tenants to sit down and come up with arrangements that enable them to get through this crisis so on the other side, the landlord has a tenant, which is a business that can pay rent and the business is a business that can re-emerge on the other side of this and be able to go on and employ people.”
Morrison said the National Cabinet had agreed to a common set of principles, endorsed by Treasurers, to underpin and govern intervention to aid commercial tenancies as follows:
- a short term, temporary moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent to be applied across commercial tenancies impacted by severe rental distress due to coronavirus;
- 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.
Print and Visual Communication CEO Andrew Macaulay has welcomed the latest round of initiatives which also included confirmation that printing and packaging businesses can remain in operation so long as they are meeting the social distancing and space requirements and practicing the appropriate hygiene measures.
The federal government has also announced $1.1b will be allocated to support mental health.
It has also launched a very handy app that can help us all stay informed. Download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join our WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.
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