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Code of practice in the works to protect commercial leasing contracts: PM

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Australia’s Federal Government is working with heads of industry to establish a mandatory code of practice for commercial leasing contracts.

The Federal Government is working with heads of industry to establish a mandatory code of practice for commercial leasing contracts as the coronavirus pandemic shuts business doors.

Announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison today, the mandatory code of practice will include provisions for businesses who cannot pay their rent and landlords who need to make mortgage repayments.

The National Cabinet has been working on the code of practice with industry, but it has not yet been finalised.

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At this stage the code of practice will only concern commercial leases as tenancy law is governed by individual states and territories, and as such may differ across the country.

It does not concern residential landlords or leases.

The code of practice will only apply to businesses who are eligible under the government's JobKeeper scheme, meaning they have incurred a 30 per cent loss of turnover as a result of COVID-19.

Last Sunday, Mr Morrison announced a moratorium on the eviction of residential renters, meaning those heavily financially affected by the virus would not be thrown out of their premises.

Today the prime minister stressed that it was not a moratorium on paying rent, and tenants are still expected to do so where they can.

"Many landlords are doing the right thing, talking to their tenants understanding they both need each other and coming to sensible arrangements to get through," Mr Morrison said.  

"But there is unreasonableness from landlords and tenants alike.

"Landlords not taking the tenants' calls and continuing to take the rent, and tenants threatening to throw in the keys and walk away from leases.

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"It is not the way to behave.

"We need a code of behaviour that will be mandatory under state and territory laws to get people into a room and sort it out.

"If people don't want to do that they won't have those protections."

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Source: 9News

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