Skip to main content
Image of keys with the caption 'Commercial tenancy. Support for tenants and landlords'

Commercial tenancy legislative changes

Last updated: 6 October 2020

Commercial tenancy COVID-19 legislation

So that we can best assist you, as either a tenant or a landlord, please watch the video and read all of this information before contacting us.

The WA Government passed a law earlier in 2020 to help commercial tenants and landlords reach agreements about rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The law was passed in two parts:

  • Part one: Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 (21 April 2020)
  • Part two: WA code of conduct (29 May 2020)

These two parts of the law work together to ensure businesses survive the economic downturn associated with the pandemic. They implement the key principles of a national code released by the National Cabinet in April.

They specify the actions small business tenants and landlords can take in regard to commercial tenancies during and following the crisis, and how they should negotiate an agreement.

Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020

The Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 (the Act) was passed on 21 April 2020. The Act protects small business tenants from a range of prohibited actions, while they try to negotiate rent relief. They include:

  • a moratorium on evictions due to non-payment of rent
  • termination of the lease
  • rent increases (other than rent or a component of rent determined by reference to turnover)
  • penalties for tenants who do not trade or have reduced their trading hours
  • charging interest on rent arrears or any other unpaid amount of money (including operating expenses)
  • using bonds or guarantees to recover money owing
  • progressing with proceedings against a tenant for a breach that occurred after 30 March 2020, but before the new laws come into operation.

WA code of conduct

On 29 May the WA code of conduct (the code) became law.

The code, based on the national code released by the National Cabinet on 7 April, implements key principles for tenants and landlords to follow in order to negotiate rent relief for tenants suffering financial stress due to COVID-19.

All parties in a small commercial lease (landlords and tenants) must comply with the code to negotiate temporary variations to the lease, including rent relief, to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All parties must follow these guidelines when negotiating rent relief:

  • cooperate
  • act reasonably and in good faith
  • act in an open, honest and transparent manner
  • provide each other with sufficient and accurate information for the purposes of the negotiations, and
  • not make onerous demands for information from each other.

Emergency period extension

The State Government extended the emergency period under the Act until 28 March 2021. The new legislation and code introduced earlier in 2020 will continue to apply with some changes until this date. From 30 September, the changes include protection and rent relief being available to tenants who are experiencing ongoing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website has:

More information

Last updated on:

Get the latest SBDC small business news