Legislation which provides the legal framework around the Coronavirus Eviction Moratorium announced by the Prime Minister recently was tabled in the WA Parliament yesterday (16 April 2020). It is likely the bill will be passed into law quickly.
Some key features of the bill include:
- Eligible tenants have a right to early termination of their lease.
- Eligible tenants are tenants under a “commercial lease” who are in “severe financial distress”.
- A commercial lease is defined as “a small commercial lease” or “any other lease that is of a class prescribed by regulations”.
- Severe financial distress is defined and broadly means a tenant who is suffering financial hardship as a result of “COVID-19 consequences” and who has made reasonable endeavours to negotiate a rent waiver, deferral or concession from the landlord but despite that, the tenant is not (or will not at some later time) be in a position to perform its obligations under the lease. Other requirements may also be prescribed.
- The process to be taken by the parties and rights of appeal.
- Effects of termination if termination occurs.
- The provisions may not be contracted out.
Here is a link to the bill: https://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Parliament/Bills.nsf/7CDCFDA8EE2BA09C4825854C00139362/$File/188-1.pdf
We will provide an update once the bill has become law.