The Queensland Government has passed the Covid-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 (Qld) (the Bill) , which among other things:
- At Part 7 authorised the making of regulations under the Bill or the Retail Shop Leases Act to respond to the emergency which may:
- prohibit the recovery of possession of premises under a relevant lease by a lessor of the premises from a lessee of the premises; or
- prohibit the termination of a relevant lease by a lessor or owner of premises; or
- regulate or prevent the exercise or enforcement of another right of a lessor of premises under a relevant lease or other agreement relating to the premises; or
- exempt a lessee, or a class of lessees, from the operation of a provision of an Act, relevant lease or other agreement relating to the leasing of premises; or
- require parties to a relevant lease to have regard to particular matters or principles, or a prescribed standard, code or other document, in negotiating or disputing a matter under or in relation to the relevant lease; or
- require a mediator, conciliator, arbitrator, tribunal, court or other decision-maker to have regard to particular matters or principles, or a prescribed standard, code or other document, in mediating, conciliating, hearing or deciding a matter or proceeding relating to a relevant lease; or
- provide for a dispute resolution process for disputes relating to relevant leases, including, for example, by providing for the following:
- who may apply for dispute resolution;
- how the dispute resolution process is started;
- the appointment and jurisdiction of mediators to mediate disputes;
- the conduct of mediations;
- the conferral of jurisdiction on a tribunal to hear and decide disputes;
- the referral of disputes to a court or tribunal; or
- prescribe any other matter necessary for, or incidental to, facilitating a matter mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (g).
Interestingly, the regulations may have retrospective operation, but only to a day not earlier than the commencement of this Act, and the regulations expire on 31 December 2020.
We haven’t seen the proposed regulations yet, but presumably will mirror the Code – it will be interesting to see what the ‘reasonable recovery period’ is defined as.
- Created a ‘Small Business Commissioner’ who will ‘assist small business in reaching an informal resolution for disputes relating to small business leases’ and administering the mediation process.
Once we have had the opportunity to review the regulations, we will provide further information.
If you are a commercial tenant or landlord and would like assistance in this area please contact us today on 07 5606 7332, or via our webform to make an appointment – please let us know if you would like a telephone or videoconference appointment.
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