The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has been in the news this week after it was reported that a landlord on the Sunshine Coast would be forced to discount rent for its long-term tenants after the QCAT ruled the landlord could not demonstrate that reducing the rent would put the landlord at a financial disadvantage. A link to the news report can be found here.
The decision comes as somewhat of a warning to landlords that the various Tribunals around the country may not hesitate to step in to compel rent relief in circumstances where the landlord is not demonstrating a genuine attempt to reach a workable compromise with its tenants. Whilst the case dealt with a residential tenancies dispute, it is not difficult to envision that such rulings may be forthcoming in the commercial tenancy space, particularly given that various of the States temporary (COVID-19) regulations in some way allow a landlord to take account of its own financial ability to offer rent relief when putting an offer to tenants.
If you require advice in relation to commercial tenancy negotiations in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team for on-point, practical guidance.
Joseph Carneli, Senior Associate