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The State Government is extending the emergency period under WA's Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 until March 28, 2021.
The move means existing laws, including the moratorium on evictions, freeze on rent increases and code of conduct for small business commercial lease rent relief negotiations, will continue to apply in a more targeted manner until this date.
After September 29, 2020, when the current arrangements were due to end, WA's commercial tenancies (COVID-19) legislation will be refined to offer assistance to small businesses that continue to experience financial hardship resulting from the pandemic and qualify for JobKeeper (or their loss in turnover is more than 30 per cent).
These changes will be achieved through regulations currently being drafted.
The Small Business Commissioner and the State Administrative Tribunal will continue to provide free dispute resolution services in relation to the Act and associated code of conduct.
Earlier this year, the WA Government introduced the code of conduct to help eligible small business tenants and commercial landlords reach agreement about rent relief during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The code will continue to apply after September 29, 2020, only to those tenants who are able to demonstrate ongoing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
Further details available at http://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidcomten or visit the Small Business Development Corporation's website.
"The decision to extend the emergency period for a further six months is consistent with the emergency period recently announced in Victoria and South Australia.
"While it's pleasing to see many businesses recovering economically, there are still others in COVID financial hardship.
"This targeted application of the Code acknowledges the resilience of many WA businesses while continuing to assist those that need the protection."
"While some WA businesses have successfully weathered the uncertainty of the past few months, we know many others are still doing it tough.
"Extending the emergency period will assist these tenants to negotiate further rent relief with their landlords to provide additional breathing space as the WA economy continues to rebound.
"Since the introduction of the WA Code, the Small Business Commissioner has helped thousands of commercial landlords and small business tenants with their negotiations. Assistance with disputes will continue to be offered free of charge for all parties during this extended period.
"Full details of what the emergency period extension means for commercial landlords and small business tenants will be on the Small Business Development Corporation website once available."
Commerce Minister's office - 6552 6800
Small Business Minister's office - 6552 5600