On 7 April 2020, the National Cabinet released a Code of Conduct for Commercial Tenancies (“Code”).

The Code applies to all tenancies that are suffering financial stress or hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic where the tenant is an eligible business for the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper programme, with an annual turnover of up to $50 million.

The Code applies for the duration of the JobKeeper programme.

The objective of the Code is “to share, in a proportionate, measured manner, the financial risk and cashflow impact during the COVID-19 period, whilst seeking to appropriately balance the interests of tenants and landlords. It is intended that landlords will agree tailored, bespoke and appropriate temporary arrangements for each tenant, taking into account their particular circumstances on a case-by-case basis.”

The Code sets out Overarching Principles and Leasing Principles to be applied as soon as practicable in the discussions between the landlord and tenant regarding the temporary arrangements under the Code.

A full copy of the Code can be found here.

Before agreeing any variation to their current lease, landlords and tenants should obtain legal advice to ensure that their rights are protected and they have complied with the Code.

More information about the Code can be found in our other article, Commercial Leases and the Coronavirus Pandemic

Pigott Stinson regularly advises clients in relation to a range of commercial matters, including commercial tenancies. If you have any questions regarding the matters raised in this article or the JobKeeper Legislation generally, please contact us.

This publication is produced by Pigott Stinson. It is intended to provide general information only and concerns bills and draft legislation may not yet be in effect. The contents of this publication do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought from us in respect of the matters set out in this publication. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.