It has been another busy day for the industry as the National Cabinet debates the JobKeeper legislation and the Commercial Tenancies Code of Practice for rent relief was released.
We at the QHA are really pleased to be able to continue to offer advice to so many of you and I have provided the following updates for your reference:
At the time of publishing this update, the legislation that will enact the ‘JobKeeper Payment’ has not yet passed - as per usual legislative channels.
A detailed Question and Answer Information Sheet will be prepared once the legislation has been approved, and will be made available to members via the QHA website.
The finalisation of the Information Sheet will be dependent on when the legislation passes, however we anticipate it being available from tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon. We will update members asap accordingly.
COMMERCIAL TENANCIES RENT RELIEF – MANDATORY CODE OF PRACTICE
The National Cabinet has established a Code of Practice for commercial tenancies to be legislated by each state. The following is a brief overview of this framework which will form the legal basis for these negotiations between commercial landlords and tenants:
The purpose of this Code is to impose a set of good faith leasing principles for commercial tenancies between owners/operators/other landlords and tenants.
Eligibility – The Code applies to all tenancies that are suffering financial stress with their turnover having fallen by more than 30% and they have an annual turnover of less than $50 million.
- Landlords must not terminate leases due to non-payment of rent
- Tenants must remain committed to the terms of their lease, subject to any amendments to their rental agreement negotiated under this Code
- Landlords must offer tenants proportionate reductions in rent payable in the form of waivers and deferrals of up to 100% of the amount ordinarily payable, on a case-by-case basis, based on the reduction in the tenant’s trade
- Rental waivers must constitute no less than 50% of the total reduction in rent payable.
- Any reduction in statutory charges (e.g. land tax, council rates) or insurance will be passed on to the tenant in the appropriate proportion
- A landlord should seek to share any benefit it receives due to deferral of loan payments
- No fees, interest or other charges should be applied with respect to rent waived or deferred
- Landlords must not draw on a tenant’s security for the non-payment of rent (be this a cash bond, bank guarantee or personal guarantee)
- The tenant should be provided with an opportunity to extend its lease for an equivalent period of the rent waiver and/or deferral period
- Landlords agree to a freeze on rent increases (except for retail leases based on turnover rent)
- Landlords may not apply any prohibition or levy any penalties if tenants reduce opening hours or cease to trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Where landlords and tenants cannot reach agreement on leasing arrangements the matter should be referred and subjected (by either party) to applicable state retail/commercial leasing dispute resolution processes for binding mediation, including Small Business Commissioners/Champions/Ombudsmen where applicable.
This Code comes into effect from a date following 3 April 2020 to be defined by the state, for the period during which the Commonwealth JobKeeper program remains operational.
There is obviously more detail to be received from the Queensland Government regarding the implementation of the Code and the QHA will keep members updated.
See the full Code of Practice HERE
TRADING ON GOOD FRIDAY AND ANZAC DAY 2020
Licensees who are currently authorised to do so, can sell takeaway liquor on Good Friday, but only with a meal and in line with their current conditions. Commercial Hotel liquor licenses are not limited to any amounts, while Cafe/restaurant licences are limited to a maximum of 2.25 litres of liquor (total volume) per transaction – basically a six-pack or 3 bottles wine.
Licensees are not permitted to sell takeaway liquor prior to 1pm on Anzac Day. From 1pm, they can sell takeaway liquor, also in line with their current conditions.
GAMING TAX DEFERRED
QHA had asked the Premier to get gaming taxes waived that were to be swept by Treasury in the first week of April.
We are pleased that our requests have resulted in the Attorney-General announcing that there will be a deferral of gaming taxes. The scheduled April 10th gaming tax sweep will not occur - this will happen automatically – venues do not need to do anything.
This result has only been achieved because of the excellent relationship QHA have with the Queensland Government and the co-operative approach they have taken to ensuring as many hotels can survive the current restrictions as possible.
As any more information comes to hand, we will distribute it, however, QHA will continue to push for a complete waiver for these taxes.
As always, please feel free to contact us.
QHA Chief Executive