May 7, 2020
By: Braxton Anthony
While participating in a webinar last week, which I was informed of through RCR’s affiliation with the Alliance of Tenant Representatives, I learned Australia’s government has approved a Mandatory Code of Conduct for Tenants and Landlords. This approved Code is due to COVID-19 and its effect on Tenants’ abilities to pay rent. In summary, the Code states Tenants and Landlords are required to negotiate, in good faith, new business terms to existing leases which can include reductions to current rent. Landlords cannot terminate leases for non-payment of rent and Tenants must remain committed to their leases.
There are a few caveats. First, a Tenant must have an annual turnover of up to $50 million. The Code is targeting small to medium sized businesses. Second, a Tenant must qualify under the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program. In this program, a business must provide financial information that justifies a fall in turnover of at least thirty percent (30%) for one month or more.
Will we see something similar here in the United States? I personally think it is too early to tell but not out of question should COVID-19 continue to spread, and we are required to practice social distancing longer than expected.