Queensland’s freeze on evictions of commercial tenants has been extended to 31 December 2020. This means that tenants of “Affected Leases” impacted by the pandemic cannot be evicted from their premises for failure to pay rent or outgoings or failing to open during the hours required by their Lease until 31 December 2020.
For a lease to be an “Affected Lease” it must meet the following criteria:
- it must be a retail shop lease under the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (Qld) or a lease under which the lease used for carrying on a business;
- on the 28 May 2020, the lease or an agreement to lease was binding on the tenant;
- the tenant is an SME entity, being an entity:
- which carries on a business (or is a non-profit body) during the current financial year; and
- for which one or both of the following applies:
- the entity’s annual turnover for the current financial year is likely to be less than AUD50 million; or
- the entity’s annual turnover for the previous financial year was less than AUD50 million; and
- the tenant under the lease, or an entity that is connected with, or an affiliate of, the tenant responsible for, or involved in, employing staff for the business carried on at the leased premises, is eligible for the Commonwealth Government JobKeeper scheme.
The ban on evictions under the Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 (Qld) was due to expire at the end of this month. Attorney-General and Justice Minister Yvette D’Ath said the three month extension was good news for struggling businesses. She said “This extension is about giving businesses, and the thousands of workers they employ, the certainty they need in these challenging times. It’s about supporting jobs and keeping people in work as Queensland builds towards economic recovery.”
No mention has been made of extensions of other prohibited “Prescribed Actions“ landlords including claiming on bank guarantees and security deposits, charging interest on late payments or enforcing other rights by the lessor under the lease or other agreement relating to the leased premises.
We await the release of the amendments to the regulation for clarity with respect to the extent of the extension.
If you require assistance with property-related matters please contact Mahoney Smith at Rouse Lawyers on 07 3667 9697.