COVID 19 - Commercial, Retail and Residential Tenant Protections

|by Sophie Shepherd|Business Advisory

Land tax relief, eviction freezes, and rental support are part of new measures to protect individuals, businesses and jobs during the COVID-19 crisis.

Land Tax Relief

The various states and territories across Australia have declared an assortment of land tax concessions to relieve cash-flow strain on landlords:

QLD – 25% rebate on 2020 land tax and 3-month deferral on 2021 land tax payments for eligible residential and commercial landlords. Foreign land tax surcharge waived on 2020 land tax on all relevant foreign owned properties.

VIC – 25% discount and optional payment deferral until 31 March 2021 on 2020 land tax for eligible residential and commercial landlords.

NSW – up to 25% waiver/rebate and payment plans or deferrals on 2020 land tax for eligible residential and commercial landlords.

SA - 25% discount and optional 6-month payment deferral on 3rd and 4th quarter instalments on 2020 land tax for eligible residential and commercial landlords.

WA - 25% grants and interest free payment plans on 2020 land tax for eligible commercial landlords. Late payment penalties will also be waived. Such grants are equally applicable to the Metropolitan Region Improvement Tax.

TAS – 100% land tax waiver for 2021 land tax for eligible commercial landlords. All landlords/landowners can apply for deferral or a payment arrangement if experiencing financial hardship.

ACT – land tax credit to the greater of 50% of rental reduction or $1,300 per quarter for eligible residential landlords.

NT - Land tax does not apply.

Eviction Freezes

Each state or territory has implemented eviction freezes for tenants in rental arrears that are suffering financial hardship because of COVID-19. Note in certain cases, evictions may be still enacted on successful application with the relevant state/territory tenancy authority.

QLD – A landlord cannot evict an eligible tenant during 29 March to 29 September 2020 and they must offer an extension to a lease ending for a minimum of 6-months.

VIC – Evictions prohibited between 29 March and 26 September 2020 for eligible tenants.

NSW – Under the evictions moratorium there is a 60 day stop on evictions, after this date a landlord will need to enter negotiations for rent reduction with the tenant. Only after negotiations have failed can a landlord seek to terminate the lease agreement.

SA – A landlord will not be able to evict eligible tenants from 30 March to 30 September 2020.

WA – 6-month stop on evictions from 30 March to 29 September 2020. Periodic lease agreements are to take effect for those leases expiring during the period unless a new agreement is entered, or tenant terminates.

TAS – 120-day suspension from 27 March to 25 July 2020 on evictions for rental arrears and broader ban on evictions until 30 June 2020. Further extensions may be announced at the state governments discretion.

ACT – Evictions prohibited for 3-months from 22 April to 22 July 2020 for eligible tenants. A further 3-month extension may be announced at the state governments discretion.

NT – tenancy laws still with state government for deliberation.

Rental Support/Grants

Several state/territory governments have also implemented rental support by way of grants for effected tenants:

QLD – rental grants of up to 4 weeks rent or a maximum of $2000 available for eligible tenants experiencing hardship and waiting for other financial support or unable to access support. Unfortunately, applications for this grant have closed.

VIC – one off rental grant of up to $2,000 payable directly to landlord/agent for eligible tenants.

NSW – Centrelink assistance may be available for affected tenants. However, no specific grants provided at this time.

SA – full rent relief for eligible business tenants forced to close or significantly impacted by COVID-19 from date of closure until 30 June 2020. Further formal announcements expected.

WA- rent relief grant of 4 weeks rent or a maximum of $2000 paid to landlord on behalf of eligible residential tenant/s.

TAS - rental grants of up to 4 weeks rent or a maximum of $2000 payable directly to landlord/agent for eligible residential tenants.

ACT – landlords are entitled to a land tax rebate if they reduce tenants’ rent by at least 25% for up to 6-months. By way of a 50-50 matching arrangement of the rent reduction to a maximum of $2,600 over 6-months or $100 per week.

NT – tenancy laws still with state government for deliberation.

If you would like further information or to check your eligibility, please see our COVID-19 Fact Sheet on Property and/or please reach out to our friendly team at Cordner Advisory on 07 5504 5700 or email info@cordner.com.au

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