The Western Australian Government is extending the emergency period under WA’s Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 until 28 March 2021.
The move means existing laws, including the moratorium on evictions, freeze on rent increases and code of conduct for small business commercial lease rent relief negotiations, will continue to apply in a more targeted manner until this date.
After 29 September 2020, when the current arrangements were due to end, WA’s commercial tenancies (COVID-19) legislation will be refined to offer assistance to small businesses that continue to experience financial hardship resulting from the pandemic and qualify for JobKeeper (or their loss in turnover is more than 30 per cent).
The State Government says these changes will be achieved through regulations currently being drafted.
The Small Business Commissioner and the State Administrative Tribunal will continue to provide free dispute resolution services in relation to the Act and associated code of conduct.
Earlier this year, the WA Government introduced the code of conduct to help eligible small business tenants and commercial landlords reach agreement about rent relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The code will continue to apply after 29 September 2020, but only to those tenants who are able to demonstrate ongoing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
Commerce Minister John Quigley said the decision to extend the emergency period for a further six months is consistent with the emergency period recently announced in Victoria and South Australia.
“While it’s pleasing to see many businesses recovering economically, there are still others in COVID financial hardship,” Mr Quigley said this morning.
“This targeted application of the Code acknowledges the resilience of many WA businesses while continuing to assist those that need the protection.”