COVID-19 - Client Update 01/4/2020
01/4/2020 - Further clarification around the Rent Moratorium.
In Queensland, if we have an issue whereby the tenant does not pay rent, then a process is followed that sometimes eventuates to the Court system. In our state our court is called the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). QCAT have come out with an announcement today which confirmed that no rights in relation to Queensland Tenancy laws have been repealed or amended. So while there is a temporary Moratorium on Evictions no actual changes to the laws have been made.
At this stage the Prime Minister has made an announcement about a principled approach, but it is up to the Queensland state government to conduct an evaluation and implement the necessary legislative amendments.
For now QCAT will keep determining based on the current laws, but they do intend to create laws and create them retrospectively to the 29th of March 2020 when the announcement was made.
Today the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, has given some qualifications around the Moratorium. The treasurer stressed that the Moratorium is not to be interpreted as something that allows a tenant not to pay rent. Rent is payable unless a tenant can demonstrate that they are in financial stress and unable to meet rental payment obligations. Ultimately, any unpaid rent, will need to be paid eventually.
This has given us a little more detail and understanding around what this framework will look like.
On the 30th of March the Prime Minister released a Media Statement that mentioned rental assistance payments.
"Well, we're currently looking at rental assistance payments at the moment. We're also working with the states and territories when it comes to residential tenancy issues. That continues to be a matter that's a subject of work within the national cabinet right now, as you heard me say last night, there is a moratorium on evictions that would apply and be put in place by the states and territories to both commercial and residential leases. The follow on effects of that in terms of guarantees around rents and things of that nature for landlords and vice versa is a matter that's still being worked through."
The next update we expect to receive is from the National Cabinet whom have agreed to consider advice from Treasurers on commercial and residential tenancies at their next meeting on Friday 3rd April 2020.