Queensland commercial tenants impacted by the pandemic are set to get further relief, with the state government extending the ban on evictions until the end of the year.
The move means that to the end of 2020 commercial leaseholders can’t have their lease terminated if they fall into arrears as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
First introduced in March by the national cabinet, the six-month ban on evictions are due to expire at the end of this month.
Leaving out residential tenancies, the Queensland government's latest announcement pushes the moratorium on evictions in the commercial space to the new date of 31 December 2020.
Queensland's announcement comes as other states have extended eviction protection.
Last month, Victoria extended its own ban on evictions for both residential and commercial tenants until 31 December.
While Western Australia and South Australia have each put a six-month extension in place for residential and commercial tenancies until the end of March.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said that landlords and tenants had been working together “in good faith” to “tackle the economic challenges”, describing the announcement as “a shot in the arm” for many small businesses still struggling because of the pandemic.
“This extension is about giving businesses, and the thousands of workers they employ, the certainty they need in these challenging times,” D'Ath said.
With no mention made about Queensland residential tenants, the end of the moratorium looks set to remain as 29 September.
The Queensland government's decision has been criticised by three of the five members of its Covid-19 Housing Security Subcommittee; Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS), Q Shelter and Tenants Queensland.
“Since the Covid-19 crisis began, demand for the state’s tenant advisory services has increased drastically,” Tenants Queensland chief executive Penny Carr said.
“Particularly from tenants fearing eviction after losing their jobs or having their income reduced as a result of Covid-19.”
The code extension means that affected businesses can come forward to receive assistance under the code until 31 December.