Massons

Tasmania – Landlord and Tenants – Covid-19 Disease Emergency Act

Written by Leisha de Aboitiz and Joseph Consalvi on March 30, 2020

Tasmania has acted first in relation to introducing laws regarding rental and eviction relief in Australia as a result of Covid-19 impacts. The Covid-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (Tas) 2020 (Covid-19 Emergency Act) is in force and valid from 27 March 2020.

Eviction freeze

From a commercial property perspective, the key points of the Tasmanian Covid-19 Emergency Act are:

  • the new legislation contemplates a prohibition on termination and rental increases for certain leases – this appears to be intended to cover commercial/retail (and potentially other non-residential) leases
  • the Minister may, by notice, prohibit termination or rental increases for leases within a class of lease in specified circumstances during the “emergency period” – we do not yet know what “class of leases” are affected
  • the emergency period (ie the eviction “freeze period” will be at least 120 days from commencement of the Act, but it might be longer – we do not yet know what the period will be)
  • the Act doesn’t appear to provide for any form of rent abatement (with the effect presumably to be that any unpaid rent will continue to accrue throughout the emergency period) – this is likely to be of limited benefit to tenants in the long run if revenue has been seriously affected by Covid-19 (ie these measures might just delay the inevitable termination of the lease if the arrears can’t be paid at the end of the “freeze” period).
  • the Act does not (at this stage) appear to restrict the landlord from drawing down on bank guarantees for a failure to pay rent during the emergency period, and it may be that landlords do choose to use the security to protect themselves for the arrears during any freeze period.

Note that the “emergency period” during which specific protections appear to apply starts on (and from) the date of commencement of the Covid-19 Emergency Act, therefore arguably a termination notice issued prior to 27 March 2020 should remain valid.

Land tax measures

The Tasmanian Government has also announced that Land Tax will be waived for commercial property for the 2020-21 financial year, where the business owner:

  • is liable for the land tax; and
  • can demonstrate that their business operations have been affected by COVID-19.

It’s unclear at the moment who might be captured by the definition of ‘business owner’ but we expect that it would target commercial tenants who are liable to pay land tax via outgoings under their lease.

We will update this article as further developments arise.

Insights

"Excellence Awardee" - Boutique Firm of the Year - 2022 Australasian Law Awards

We are delighted that Massons has been selected as an “Excellence Awardee” in the category of “Boutique Firm of the Year” at the 2022 Australasian Law Awards.

Thank you to all of our wonderful clients who have supported our nomination in this category, and to our amazing lawyers and support staff for making this possible!

Wishing all the other Awardees the best of luck and looking forward to the Gala Dinner.  A night out with our team is always cause for celebration – win, lose or draw!!

March 23, 2022

Doyle's Guide 2022

We are excited about our inclusion in Doyle’s Guide for 2022 for NSW in the following categories:

Massons – Leading Property & Real Estate Law Firms
Jodie Masson – Leading Property & Real Estate Lawyers and Leading Leasing Lawyers
Leisha de Aboitiz – Leading Property & Real Estate Lawyers and Leading Leasing Lawyers
Ben Malone – Property & Real Estate Law Rising Stars

Thank you to all of our peers and wonderful clients who have helped to achieve this recognition.

March 14, 2022

"Rising Stars" Australasian Lawyer 2022

February 28, 2022

Appointment as Senior Associate

We are excited to announce the appointment of Alex Ho as a Senior Associate at Massons.  Alex started with us as a paralegal and has achieved this milestone in record time due to his hard work, his ability to develop and sustain fantastic relationships with clients, his engagement in constantly seeking to improve himself and others in equal measure, and his absolutely infectious enthusiasm.  We couldn’t be prouder!  Congratulations Alex!

January 5, 2022

Australian Lawyer's Elite Women List 2021

December 8, 2021

We are excited to have been named as finalists in several categories in the Lawyers Weekly “Women in Law Awards 2021”:

– Massons – “Boutique Diversity Law Firm of the Year”
– Ole Mitrevski – “Senior Associate of the Year – SME Law”
– Michelle Mon – “Rising Star of the Year – SME Law”
– Nicole Caryofyllis – “Legal Support Professional of the Year”

We are proud to be recognised as a Firm which supports diversity in the workplace and are humbled to be included in the list of finalists in these categories. Win or lose, we are looking forward to celebrating the Awards night and would love to thank our peers and clients who have helped us achieve this recognition.

October 12, 2021

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Email: property@massons.com