COVID-19 – Commercial Tenancies Update (24 April 2020)

The Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 has received Royal Assent on 23 April 2020. This brings into immediate effect a series of measures in relation to small commercial leases in WA, for an emergency period.  The ‘prohibited actions’ provisions in the Act apply as from 30 March 2020. Please refer to our previous article for details about which commercial leases the Act applies to, what the various prohibited actions are, and how long this Act will apply for.

In the absence of a commercial tenancies code of conduct in WA yet – uncertainty remains for what rights and obligations parties will have in any rent relief negotiations. This code is anticipated to be introduced into Parliament in a few weeks. For now, parties may choose to commence discussions regarding rent relief using the principles from the National Code of Conduct as a guide. The National Code should be used as a guide only – it is not law in WA. This Act should not be confused with the Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Early Terminations) Bill.  The early terminations Bill has not been passed by Parliament – it has not progressed beyond the second reading stage in the Legislative Assembly. Given that the measures proposed in this Bill were discussed and rejected by the National Cabinet, and the impact that any unilateral right to terminate by a tenant could have on the commercial property market, there is some strong opposition to this Bill.

If you have any leasing queries please contact our Property team.

Emma Leys – Partner –

The information published in this paper is of a general nature and should not be construed as legal advice. Whilst we aim to provide timely, relevant and accurate information, the law may change and circumstances may differ. You should not therefore act in reliance on it without first obtaining specific legal advice.