31 Aug 2020
By Chris Williams
Perth

Acknowledging small business, including the retail sector, have been hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to commercial tenancy laws in WA are providing some relief through what is defined as this “emergency period”.  Solomon Brothers partner, Chris Williams, provides a summary of these legislative changes and their impact on both landlords and tenants.


Introduction

    1. Currently (as at 2 July 2020) in Western Australia, commercial tenancy laws have been changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the enactment of the Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 (“the Act”) and the adoption of a code of conduct (“the Code”) that is set out in Schedule 1 to the Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Regulations 2020 (“the Regulations”).

The Act

Leases to which the Act Applies

    1. The Act does not apply to all commercial leases. It applies only to what are defined in s.3 as “small commercial leases”, which comprise:
      1. retail shop leases (as defined in s.3(1) of the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 (“Retail Shops Act”));
      2. leases taken out by small businesses; or
      3. leases taken out by incorporated associations.
    2. The definition of “small commercial lease” has provision for regulations to prescribe some other class of lease. Currently, no other class of lease is prescribed.
    3. Section 3 of the Small Business Development Corporation Act 1983 defines a “small business” as, relevantly, a business undertaking which is wholly owned and operated by an individual person, by individual persons in partnership or by a proprietary company (as defined in the Corporations Act 2001) and which:
      1. has a relatively small share of the market in which it competes;
      2. is managed personally by the owner(s) or director(s); and
      3. is not a subsidiary of, or does not form part of, a larger business or enterprise.
    4. Unlike some other definitions of a “small business” in different legislation and in different contexts, this definition of “small business” has no regard to the level of economic activity of the business (measured by reference to turnover, or otherwise) or the number of employees of the business. The criteria relate to the business’s share of the market in which it operates (and, potentially, in a large market, a relatively large business may still have a small share of the market) and the management (by the sole person carrying on the business, the partners in a partnership or the directors of a proprietary limited company).
    5. A key concept in the Act is the “emergency period”. This is defined in s.3 of the Act as a period beginning on 30 March 2020, and ending on 29 September 2020 or any other date that is prescribed by regulations. Currently, no regulations have prescribed a day other than 29 September 2020. Accordingly, currently, the “emergency period” covers a period beginning on 30 March 2020 and ending on 29 September 2020.
    6. The Act does not contain any provisions requiring landlords to provide commercial tenants with any rent relief. What the Act provides is:
      1. in s.9, a prohibition on landlords taking certain actions (described as “prohibited actions”) following a breach by a tenant during the “emergency period” of an obligation to pay rent (s.9(a)) or to operate their business during operating hours required by the lease (s.9(b));
      2. in s.10, that an act or omission of a tenant during the “emergency period” that is required under a written law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is not to be regarded as a breach of a “small commercial lease”, grounds for termination of a “small commercial lease” or grounds for the taking of any “prohibited action” under or in respect of a “small commercial lease”; and
      3. in s.11, that rent payable under a “small commercial lease” (other than rent or a component of rent determined by reference to turnover) cannot be increased during the “emergency period”.
    7. The operation of s.9 of the Act is confined to breaches that occur during the “emergency period”, and which are of obligations to pay rent or other moneys or to maintain operating hours. “Prohibited actions” can still be taken consequential upon any breaches that precede the “emergency period”; or are of obligations other than payment of rent or other moneys or maintenance of operating hours.
    8. Section 9 of the Act also contemplates regulations prescribing other acts or omissions by a tenant during the “emergency period” in respect of which a landlord could not take any “prohibited actions”. However, currently, no further acts or omissions have been prescribed.
    9. The “prohibited actions” are defined in s.8 of the Act, and include:
      1. evicting the tenant or otherwise re-entering or taking possession of the leased premises: ss.8(a), (b) and (c);
      2. terminating the lease: s.8(g);
      3. claiming damages: s.8(h);
      4. charging interest on unpaid moneys: s.8(i);
      5. calling in any securities (including bonds, bank guarantees or personal guarantees): ss.8(j) and (k); or
      6. exercising any other remedy otherwise available to the landlord: s.8(l).

Saving Provision for Conduct Preceding the Act

    1. The Act received royal assent on 23 April 2020 – after the commencement of the “emergency period”. Section 12 of the Act addresses the position if actions prohibited by the Act had been taken on or after 30 March 2020 but on or before 23 April 2020 (defined in s.12(1) of the Act as the “relevant period”).
    2. Section 12 provides that such actions undertaken during the “relevant period” were effective (as if the Act had not come into operation), but insofar as such actions had ongoing effect, they were taken to be stayed or suspended until the end of the “emergency period”.
    3. The specific actions to which the saving provision in s.12 of the Act applies are:
      1. the taking or commencing of a “prohibited action”;
      2. the taking or commencement of the performance of some other measure that the landlord would not have been able to undertake or commence during the “emergency period” by virtue of Part 3 of the Act (the provisions of Part 3 are summarised in paragraph 7 above);
      3. the operation of any term of a “small commercial lease” which was contrary to the operation of Part 3 of the Act; and
      4. an increase in rent payable under a “small commercial lease” contrary to the operation of Part 3 of the Act.

Code of Conduct

General

    1. Section 13 of the Act provides that regulations may adopt a code of conduct.
    2. Regulation 3(2) adopts the Code.
    3. Pursuant to Regulation 3, the Code:
      1. applies to a “small commercial lease” that is a “relevant small commercial lease” and any person who is a landlord or tenant under a “relevant small commercial lease”; and
      2. must be complied with by a person who is a landlord or a tenant under a “relevant small commercial lease”.
    4. Regulation 3(1) defines “relevant small commercial lease” as a “small commercial lease” where the tenant is an “eligible tenant”.
    5. The term “eligible tenant” is defined in cl.2 of the Code.
    6. A tenant will be an “eligible tenant” in relation to a “small commercial lease” if:
        1. the following turnover in the financial year ending 30 June 2019 was less than $50 million:
          1. if the tenant is a franchisee, the turnover of the business conducted by the tenant at the landlord’s premises the subject of the “small commercial lease”;
          2. if the tenant is a corporation and is a member of a group, the turnover of the group. Clause 2(2) provides that corporations will constitute a group if they are “related bodies corporate” as defined in s.9 of the Corporations Act 2001; or
          3. in any other case, the turnover of the business conducted by the tenant at the landlord’s premises the subject of the “small commercial lease”,


      and

      1. the tenant either:
        1. qualifies for the JobKeeper scheme under s.7 of the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020 (“the Rules”); or
        2. at any time during the “emergency period” (which term also has the meaning given to it in the Act) satisfied the turnover tests as set out in s.8 of those Rules.
    7. There are two elements to the definition of “eligible tenant”. First, there is a turnover test relating to the financial year ended 30 June 2019. A tenant who turned over $50 million or more from the business conducted at the leased premises, or was a corporation that was a member of a group that had total turnover of $50 million or more, will not be an “eligible tenant”, regardless of the extent of the decline in turnover during the “emergency period”. Second, there must be a sufficient decline in turnover during the “emergency period” to qualify for the JobKeeper scheme or satisfy the turnover test applicable to the JobKeeper scheme.

Negotiations

    1. Clause 4 of the Code sets out that, in any negotiations undertaken for the purposes of the Code, the landlord and the tenant under a “small commercial lease” (which term, pursuant to cl.1(2) of the Code, has the meaning given to it in the Act) must:
      1. cooperate;
      2. act reasonably and in good faith;
      3. act in an open, honest and transparent manner;
      4. provide each other with sufficient and accurate information as is reasonable for them to provide in the circumstances for the purpose of negotiations; and
      5. not make onerous demands for information from each other.
    2. Those obligations are imposed only “[i]n negotiations for the purposes of [the Code]”. They have no other application.
    3. Division 3 of the Code contains provisions dealing with requests that tenants may make for rent relief. Division 4 of the Code deals with requests that tenants may make for relief in respect of outgoings or other expenses. It is only the negotiations that follow requests by tenants for such relief that attract the obligations imposed by cl.4 of the Code.

Rent Relief

    1. The provisions of Division 3 of the Code relating to rent relief apply only to a tenant under a “small commercial lease” who is an “eligible tenant”.
    2. Clause 5(1) of the Code allows an “eligible tenant” under a “small commercial lease” to, during the “emergency period”, request relief from their landlord.
    3. Clause 5(2) of the Code prescribes the form and content of a request for rent relief. Specifically:
      1. the request must be in writing;
      2. the request must be accompanied by a statement by the tenant that the lease is a “small commercial lease” and the tenant is an “eligible tenant”; and the request must be accompanied by sufficient and accurate information that evidences that the tenant is an “eligible tenant” in relation to a “small commercial lease”; and
      3. the request must also be accompanied by sufficient and accurate information that evidences the reductions in the tenant’s turnover that is associated with the business conducted at the landlord’s premises the subject of the “small commercial lease” and the tenant has experienced during the “emergency period”.
    4. Clause 6(1) of the Code obligates a landlord to offer rent relief to an “eligible tenant” on receipt by the landlord of a request for rent relief from an “eligible tenant” “that meets the requirements of cl.5(2)”. If a tenant requests rent relief, then unless the requirements imposed by cl.5(2) are satisfied, even if they are an “eligible tenant” in respect of a “small commercial lease”, the landlord has no obligation to offer rent relief. However, once such a request is made, the landlord must offer rent relief within 14 days of receiving a request, or within such other period as the landlord and the tenant agree.
    5. Clause 6(2) of the Code requires that the landlord’s offer of rent relief be in writing, and accord with the principles set out in cl.7.
    6. Clause 6(3) of the Code provides that, following receipt of the landlord’s offer of rent relief, the landlord and the tenant must, in accordance with the principles set out in cl.7 of the Code, negotiate with a view of agreeing on rent relief to apply during the “emergency period”.
    7. The principles set out in cl.7 of the Code for the negotiation of rent relief include, relevantly, the following:
      1. an offer of rent relief must apply to the “emergency period”: cl.7(2);
      2. the rent relief offered must be at least proportionate to the reduction in the tenant’s turnover that is associated with the business conducted at the landlord premises the subject of the “small commercial lease” and that the tenant has experienced during the “emergency period”: cl.7(3);
      3. unless otherwise agreed by the landlord and the tenant, the reduction in turnover is to be calculated using the principles of the decline in turnover test set out in s.8 of the Rules: cl.7(4);
      4. an offer of rent relief may relate to up to 100% of the rent payable under the “small commercial lease”: cl.7(5);
      5. any rent relief that is offered must provide that at least 50% of the relief is to be in the form of a waiver of rent (as opposed to a mere deferral of rent), unless the landlord and tenant otherwise agree in writing: cl.7(6);
      6. further, an offer of rent relief must provide that more than 50% of the relief is to be in the form of a waiver of rent if:
        1. a failure to provide more than 50% of relief in the form of a waiver of rent would compromise the tenant’s capacity to meet its obligations under the “small commercial lease”; and
        2. the landlord has financial capacity to provide more than 50% of the rent relief in the form of a waiver of rent; and

        </li

      7. if the landlord is itself a tenant under a head lease, and the landlord (as tenant under the head lease) is itself provided rent relief, the landlord must pass on the benefit of its rent relief to the tenant under the “small commercial lease”: cl.7(8). There is no requirement that the rent relief which the landlord receives under the head lease be rent relief provided pursuant to the Code – in theory, if the landlord is able to negotiate some form of rent relief independent of the Code, perhaps without the Code even applying, should a sublease be a “small commercial lease”, and the subtenant be an “eligible tenant”, then cl.7(8) would obligate the landlord to pass on that rent relief to its subtenant. Also, there is no need for the rent relief passed on to be proportionate to the subtenant’s decline in turnover.
    8. Clauses 6(3) and 7(3) appear to allow (and maybe even require) the retrospective application of rent relief to the start of the “emergency period”; although, if the tenant’s operations were not affected (or not affected to the same extent) throughout the entire “emergency period”, then this may impact upon the rent relief to be offered or negotiated.
    9.  Clause 8 of the Code requires that the rent relief which is provided under the Code must be given effect to by a written variation to the “small commercial lease” or by some other written agreement between the landlord and the tenant.
    10. Clause 9 of the Code deals with payment of any component of rent relief that comprises deferred rent (rather than rent which is waived).
    11. Clause 9(2) of the Code prevents a landlord from requesting payment of any part of deferred rent until the earlier of the end of the “emergency period” or the expiry of the term of the “small commercial lease” (before any extension to the term under cl.9(6) of the Code).
    12. Obviously, it would potentially subject “eligible tenants” to obligations which could not possibly be met if, on 30 September 2020, the landlord could demand immediate payment, in full, of all deferred rent. Consequently, cl.9(3) to (8) provide for amortisation of the payment of deferred rent and an extension of the term of the “small commercial lease” on the following basis:
      1. cl.9(3) mandates that the landlord and the tenant vary the “small commercial lease”, or otherwise agree that the tenant pay the deferred rent to the landlord amortised over the greater of the balance of the term of the “small commercial lease” or a period not less than 24 months. Clause 9(4) provides that the method for amortisation is to be agreed by the landlord and the tenant (cl.4 will operate with respect to the negotiation of the terms of such agreement);
      2. cl.9(6) and (7) require a landlord to offer the tenant an extension of the term of the “small commercial lease” on the same terms and conditions that applied immediately before the “emergency period”, for a period equivalent to the period for which rent is deferred – subject to, in the event of the landlord being a tenant under a head lease, the extension being inconsistent with the head lease; or otherwise subject to the extension being inconsistent with any contract or other agreement that has already been entered into between the landlord and a third party which relates to the landlord’s premises the subject of the lease (for example, if the landlord has already entered into an agreement to lease the premises to a third party, the landlord would not be obliged to grant an extension which would run into the term of the agreed new lease).
    13. The operation of cl.9(2), (3) and (6) are subject to the landlord and the tenant agreeing the contrary in writing: cl.9(5) and (7).
    14. Clause 10 of the Code allows an “eligible tenant” under a “small commercial lease” to request rent relief from the landlord (and attract the operation of the provisions of Division 3 of the Code) if:
      1. before the Code came into operation, the landlord and the tenant had already agreed to vary the lease so as to provide some form of rent relief, but the tenant believed that rent relief was less favourable than that which might be provided to it in accordance with the Code: cl.10(1) and (2); or
      2. rent relief had been agreed pursuant to the Code, but there had then been a material change in the financial circumstances of the tenant.

Outgoings and Other Expenses

    1. Division 4 of the Code contains some provisions dealing with outgoings and other expenses.
    2. Clause 11 of the Code contains provision for a landlord to waive recovery of any outgoings or other expenses payable by an “eligible tenant” under a “small commercial lease”. However:
      1. cl.11 only applies if, for any part of the “emergency period”, the tenant is not able to conduct its business at the land or premises the subject of the lease: cl.11(1)(b);
      2. the obligation imposed upon the landlord is only to “consider” waiving recovery of any outgoing or other expense payable by the tenant for that part of the “emergency period” that the tenant is not able to conduct its business: cl.11(2). There is no absolute obligation imposed on the landlord as there is with respect to requests for rent relief – although, cl.4 would apply to any negotiation of a possible waiver of outgoings or other expenses; and
      3. the landlord may cease to provide, or reduce the provision of, any service to the land or premises as is reasonable in the circumstances, or that is in accordance with any reasonable request of the tenant.
    3. Consequently, a tenant’s entitlement to relief in respect of outgoings arises because of an inability to use the lease premises – unlike rent relief, a decline in turnover (even if substantial) brings no right to seek relief from obligations to pay outgoings and other expenses.
    4. Clause 12 of the Code applies in circumstances where the outgoings for the land or premises the subject of a “small commercial lease” are reduced in respect of the “emergency period” or any part thereof. Where the tenant under the “small commercial lease” is an “eligible tenant”, the landlord must not require the tenant to pay any money in respect of the outgoings that is greater than the tenant’s proportional share of the reduced outgoing, and the landlord must reimburse any payment that the tenant has already made in excess of that reduced share.

Confidentiality

    1. Clause 13 of the Code imposes obligations of confidentiality in respect of “protected information” that is obtained under or in connection with the operation of the Code, with some exceptions provided by cl.13(2).
    2. The term “protected information” is defined in cl.1(1) of the Code as:
      1. the name, address or contact details of any persons (other than the landlord or the tenant under the “small commercial lease”); and
      2. information relating to business processes or financial information.

Resolution of Disputes – Proceedings in the State Administrative Tribunal

    1. The Act also contains provisions allowing disputes about its operation, or the application of the Code, to be referred to the State Administrative Tribunal (“SAT”).
    2. Section 16(1) of the Act allows a party to a “dispute” to apply to the SAT to have the “dispute” determined by the SAT.
    3. Section 14(1) defines “dispute” as a dispute between parties to a lease (including guarantors) that arises out of, or in relation to, the operation of the Act, and specifically includes a “code of conduct dispute” and a “financial hardship” dispute.
    4. Section 14(1) defines a “code of conduct dispute” as a dispute that arises out of, or in relation to, the application of the Code (including a dispute about the waiver or deferral of rent).
    5. Section 14(1) defines a “financial hardship dispute” as a dispute between parties to a “small commercial lease” in the following situation:
      1. during the “emergency period”, the tenant breached the lease by failing to pay rent or any other amount of money to the landlord;
      2. the landlord claims that the breach was not a result of the tenant suffering “financial hardship”; and
      3. the landlord has not granted the tenant a waiver, deferral or reduction in respect of the unpaid rent or other unpaid amount of money.
    6. The term “financial hardship” is also defined in s.14(1) as meaning, in relation to a tenant, financial hardship suffered as a result of one or more of:
      1. a restriction imposed under a written law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
      2. changes in societal behaviour in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; or
      3. any other consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    7. Where a “dispute” relates to a “small commercial lease” or a lease the landlord under which owns or operates a small business in the course of which the lease was granted, as an alternative to an application to the SAT, any party to the “dispute” may request the Small Business Commissioner (“the Commissioner”) to provide assistance to resolve the dispute, or undertake an alternative dispute resolution, in accordance with ss.15C or 15E of the Small Business Development Corporation Act 1983 respectively. Any request for such assistance can only be made during the “emergency period”.
    8. A certificate from the Commissioner may be required before an application can be made to the SAT in respect of a “dispute” (similar to the arrangement which currently applies with respect to applications to the SAT under the Retail Shops Act) if:
      1. the application is made outside of the “emergency period”; or
      2. the lease is a “small commercial lease” or the landlord under it owns or operates a small business in the course of which the lease was granted – unless none of the parties has requested that the Commissioner assist in resolving the “dispute” and all of the parties agree that the application can be made to the SAT.
    9. Section 17 of the Act confers power upon the SAT to make orders resolving “disputes”. Those powers do not limit any powers the SAT has under the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004.
    10. Section 17(2) empowers the SAT to make any order that it considers appropriate to resolve the “dispute” or the proceedings before it.
    11. Section 17(3) then provides, without limiting s.17(2), that the orders that the SAT can make include:
      1. an order requiring a party to pay money;
      2. an order requiring a party to do, or refrain from doing, any specified thing;
      3. in relation to a “code of conduct dispute”, an order that a specified amount of rent be waived or deferred;
      4. in a “financial hardship dispute”, an order terminating the “small commercial lease”;
      5. an order dismissing the proceedings before the SAT; or
      6. any ancillary order considered necessary for the purpose of an enabling an under order s.17 to have full effect.
    12. In the circumstances of a “code of conduct dispute”, s.17(4) of the Act requires the SAT to have regard to:
      1. the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tenant’s business and the tenant’s capacity to meet its obligations under the lease;
      2. the landlord’s financial capacity; and
      3. the principles of proportionality and fairness, and any other principles set out in the Code.
    13. In proceedings relating to a “financial hardship dispute”, s.17(5) of the Act:
      1. precludes the SAT making an order terminating the “small commercial lease” unless the SAT is satisfied that the tenant’s breach was not as a result of the tenant suffering “financial hardship” (meaning that the SAT was satisfied the tenant was not suffering financial hardship, or the SAT was satisfied that the financial hardship was not related to the COVID-19 pandemic); and
      2. requires the SAT to dismiss the proceedings if satisfied that the tenant’s breach was a result of the tenant suffering financial hardship, unless the SAT considers it appropriate to make an order that it is to the advantage of the tenant (see Regulation 5)
    14. Section 17(8) of the Act provides that the SAT may allow any equitable claim or defence and give any equitable remedy that the Supreme Court may allow or give. This would allow scope for the operation of estoppels, and also for relief against forfeiture.

Some Consequences of the Operation of the Act and the Code

  1. Nothing in the Act or the Code prevents a landlord from exercising all available rights in respect of a breach that preceded the “emergency period” and/or does not involve non-payment of rent or other moneys or a failure to maintain opening hours. In the event of any such breach (even by an “eligible tenant” and/or under a “small commercial lease”), the landlord can exercise all of its usual rights – including, possibly, terminating the lease and having recourse to security.
  2. It is also arguable that the Act does not prevent a landlord from exercising a right to terminate a “small commercial lease” as a result of a repudiation of that lease by the tenant (at least if the repudiatory conduct goes beyond the specific breaches identified in s.9 of the Act). Section 9 of the Act prevents a landlord from taking “prohibited action” on the grounds of “a breach” by the tenant. The prohibition on terminating a lease for “breach” until after notice thereof had been served but not complied with imposed by analogues of s.81 of the Property Law Act 1969 has been held to not prevent a landlord from terminating a lease (without giving notice) on the basis of a repudiation by the tenant: see Wash Investments Pty Ltd v SCK Properties Pty Ltd [2016] QCA 258 at [21] to [27] and the cases there cited. Consequently, it is arguable that (for example) a tenant evincing an intention to no longer pay rent as required by a lease, even after the conclusion of the “emergency period”, could constitute a repudiation of the lease that would allow immediately termination, which would not be precluded by s.9 of the Act.
  3. Nothing in the Act requires any landlord to grant any tenant any rent relief. The Act operates by limiting the rights which the landlord can exercise in the event of a failure by the tenant to pay rent. The tenant’s liability to pay rent will remain – and can ultimately be enforced by the landlord when the operation of the Act has concluded, or in the event that the SAT makes an order requiring payment by the tenant of some or all rent. Consequently, a tenant under a “small commercial lease” who is not an “eligible tenant” could potentially escape the consequences of not paying rent or other moneys payable under the lease, or not opening the business for hours specified in the lease, until 30 September 2020. But, as of 30 September 2020, the landlord could freely exercise all rights. Also, the definition of “prohibited action” does not include the issue of a default notice (and the issue of the notice will not, itself, be an “other remedy” falling within the scope of s.8(l)), so that a landlord can issue a default notice during the “emergency period”, so as to enable immediate termination on 30 September 2020 if a default had not been cured.
  4. Neither the Act nor the Code apply to a lease that is not a “small commercial lease”. Consequently, a landlord under any other lease can exercise all of their usual rights and remedies throughout the “emergency period”.
  5. The serving of a statutory demand on a corporate tenant for arrears of rent probably constitutes a remedy available to the landlord, and hence a “prohibited action” that cannot be undertaken during the “emergency period” in respect of a “small commercial lease” for arrears of rent or other money that feel due during the “emergency period”. For leases that are not “small commercial leases”, or moneys that fell due before the “emergency period”, a statutory demand can still be served – but changes to the Corporations Act 2001 mean that, until 25 September 2020, the amount owing must now be $20,000 and the tenant will have six months within which to comply with the demand.
  6. If the Act applies (because the lease is a “small commercial lease”), and there is a default in payment of rent or other moneys by:
    1. a tenant which is not an “eligible tenant”;
    2. an “eligible tenant” which has not requested (or properly requested) rent relief under the Code; or
    3. an “eligible tenant” who defaults in payment of reduced rent negotiated under the Code,the only action that the landlord can take is to refer a “dispute” to the SAT and seek orders requiring the tenant to pay rent and/or providing for the termination of the lease. Such orders would only be made if the SAT was satisfied that the failure by the tenant to pay rent was not caused by any “financial hardship” – which requires both that the tenant suffered financial hardship and that this was because of the COVID-19 pandemic or any restrictions imposed as a consequence of the pandemic.
  7. Any request for rent relief by a tenant who is not an “eligible tenant” under a “small commercial lease” will be a matter of negotiation based on usual commercial principles – and the landlord will need to consider whether it could obtain a better outcome by insisting that the full rent be paid and possibly terminating the lease or suing for arrears if payment was not forthcoming, or whether in the current rental market its interests would be best served by agreeing to some level of relief (reducing or deferring the rent payable).

For advice on the Commercial Tenancy Legislative changes and related property law queries, contact Chris Williams at cwilliams@solbros.com.au.