Commercial landlords directed by PM to "sit down" with commercial tenants to work through the coronavirus crisis

Commercial landlords have been directed by the PM Scott Morrison to "sit down" with their commercial office, retail and industrial tenants to work out how to get through the coronavirus crisis.

And if commercial landlords don't then they risk missing out payments in the government's third rescue package.

"If you aren't going to engage in that sort of cooperative activity, between bank, between tenants and between landlords, then the sort of support that you might otherwise expect to receive, you will not receive," Mr Morrison said.

"We are in unchartered territory, but the goal should be shared and that is a business can reopen on the other side, not weighed down by excessive debts because of rental arrears, a landlord has a tenant so that they can continue into the future to be able to support the investments that they have made and banks have clients," he added.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said on Insiders on Sunday that commercial landlords had limited capacity to replace tenants, and he urged a co-operative approach.

The six month ban on evictions, which has yet to be fully outlined, applies to commercial tenants as well as residential.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he envisaged rental payments proportionate with rental income in these reduced circumstances would be part of the commercial tenancy discussions.

The president of the REIA, Adrian Kelly said while he is very supportive of the Government's efforts, the REIA was disappointed with the simplistic approach of the Prime Minister’s message.

He suggested the PM's message "ignores the tenancy arrangement and thus raises more questions than it answers."

“Real estate agents are the middle persons who facilitate the agreement between landlords and tenants and manage it as well as the property.

“There are some 70,000 property managers, principals, real estate agents and representatives across Australia.

"Tenants don’t negotiate with landlords.

“Banks have already indicated that they are offering customers the option to defer home loan repayments for up to six months.

“We need to address the support of agents so that what the Prime Minister wants, in terms of landlords and tenants - finding a solution to get through the crisis, can be achieved.

“Estate agents will work very hard to facilitate the role between landlord and tenant, and to do this they need income.”

“I note that National Cabinet is still to consider details,” concluded Mr Kelly.




Coronavirus Commercial Evictions

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