After weeks of intense advocacy for a fair set of principles to guide discussions between commercial landlords and tenants, National Cabinet last week agreed on a mandatory Code that will result in commercial property owners shouldering a significant portion of the financial burden.
In anticipation of National Cabinet’s decision, we continued to work closely with the State Government to develop a support package to assist Queensland landlords and tenants. Late last week, the Treasurer not only announced a land tax relief package, but also committed to working with industry on the implementation of the Code. We certainly acknowledge the Queensland Government for their constructive engagement on this issue over the past fortnight. These land tax measures are welcome and will assist in mitigating some of the financial burden on both commercial property owners and tenants.
But there remains much to do. In the coming days we will not only be focused on the implementation of the Code in Queensland, but also on continuing to advocate at both the State and local government level for further measures to support our sector through this period. With this is mind, if you believe there is an issue that should be on the Property Council’s agenda to take to either level of government, please reach out to myself or one of the Queensland team.Chris Mountford
Queensland Executive Director
Property Council of Australia
Land tax relief package
After weeks of deep engagement with the State Government, the Queensland Treasurer announced a land tax relief package aimed at supporting tenants and landowners through the COVID-19 crisis. Eligible landowners who have already paid their 2019/20 land tax will be offered a 25% rebate. The foreign land tax surcharge will be abandoned for 2019/20 and land tax assessments for 30 June 2020 will be deferred by 3 months for eligible landowners. The Property Council has strongly welcomed the announcement, an outcome that is a direct result of our continuous and strong advocacy for the industry.
Last week the Prime Minister announced that National Cabinet had settled the detail of a mandatory code of conduct for SME commercial tenancies for the COVID-19 period. The Code sets out principles to guide discussions between commercial landlords and tenants, and it asks commercial property owners to shoulder a lot of the financial burden. Despite this, we are relieved to see that the risky idea of allowing tenants to terminate leases has been taken off the table. The Property Council will now begin consultation with each state and territory government on the implementation of the Code.
Temporary extension of sunset dates in residential contracts
We are deeply concerned that the impacts of COVID-19 may delay the completion of residential projects, which may in turn impact contracts of sale. The Property Council has urged the Attorney-General to implement a temporary extension (6-12 months) to the operation of sunset dates reflected in the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997.
Valuation objection deadline extended
The Valuer-General has adopted our recommendation to extend the deadline for valuation objections because of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Valuation objections will now be accepted until 1 July 2020 for those unable to lodge by 5 May.
Execution of electronic documents (deeds)
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted outdated legal requirements which prevent the full implementation of executing electronic documents. The Property Council has urged the Attorney-General to adopt a recommendation provided in a report commissioned by the State Government, to remove the requirement for deeds to be written or to be sealed or deemed to be sealed and allow for deeds to be created electronically.
Source: Property Council of Australia