Legal Insights

COVID-19 and property management

• 16 April 2020 • 0 min read

Retail and commercial leases have been an area of government focus since the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Commonwealth Government has released commercial leasing principles, which significantly alters the legal principles which would otherwise regulate the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants under those leases to which the Code applies. The COVID-19 outbreak has also placed pressure on property development projects. Now, more than ever, it is important for developers to be across key risk items and arm themselves with as much information as possible to help navigate through immediate challenges and prepare for the road ahead.

Property and development


Partners Catherine Debreceny and Stella Wild discuss the commercial leasing code of conduct and the recent changes to legislation to enshrine the Code.

Consequences for Project Finance due to COVID-19 Staffing Reductions on Construction Sites

Mandatory staffing reductions for construction sites, imposed by the Public Health Commander’s Workplace Directions have meant fewer ‘hands on deck’ and likely delays in achieving practical completion on many construction projects.

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Continuing your development project through COVID-19 – legal considerations

The property development industry, like many others, faces unprecedented challenges with the evolving COVID-19 outbreak. Maddocks has been helping our clients with project-related continuity issues and we would like to share some of these, including managing settlement risk (vendor finance and sunset dates), eContracts, construction and consultants agreements and leasing agreements.

COVID-19 and rent: What happens when you can't pay?

The COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (NSW) has significant changes that may temporarily impact a landlord’s enforcement actions in NSW.

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‘Stage 4’ COVID restrictions affecting development sites in Metropolitan Melbourne

The Chief Health Officer has issued further directions which imposes added obligations and restrictions on employers in connection with construction works.

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Should landlords and tenants wait for government relief in the time of COVID-19?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a series of principles relating to commercial and residential tenancies. Significantly, states and territories will be moving to put a moratorium on evictions of persons resulting from financial distress experienced as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and legislation has already been prepared to put these measures into effect in New South Wales.

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COVID-19: The impact on commercial and retail tenancies

We outline the significant impacts of COVID-19 on commercial and retail leases for both landlords and tenants.

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Mandatory code for commercial tenancies

Details have now been announced of the commercial leasing principles that are to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic and which are included in the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct. The Code comes into effect from a date following 3 April 2020 to be determined by each jurisdiction and will continue for a period during which the JobKeeper Program remains operational.

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COVID-19 and rent: What happens when you can't pay?

The COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (NSW), which came into effect on 25 March 2020, amended a number of acts including the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW). This has allowed the Minister to make regulations temporarily restricting a landlord’s enforcement actions under a lease as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on a tenant’s ability to perform its obligations.

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Victorian COVID-19 Commercial Tenancies Legislation

The National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles During COVID-19 (Code) established leasing principles to apply to commercial leases, but made it clear that each jurisdiction would introduce legislation to implement those leasing principles.

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COVID-19 new witnessing of documents regulations – what does this mean for NSW property transactions and verification of identity?

On 25 April 2020 the Electronic Transactions Amendment (COVID-19 Witnessing of Documents) Regulation 2020 (NSW) (the Regulation) commenced, introducing new provisions for witnessing documents during COVID-19.

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Victorian COVID-19 Commercial Tenancies Legislation & Regulations

The Act and Regulations implement the leasing principles contained in the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles During COVID-19. While the Act and the Regulations broadly reflect the principles in the Code, there are some differences.

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Cash is king: tendering for a construction project during a pandemic

In the first of a series of articles on these issues, we provide our thoughts on conducting pre-contract due diligence on the client’s capacity to pay and to carefully negotiate terms relating to payment in the age of COVID-19.

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COVID-19 new witnessing of documents regulations – what does this mean for NSW property transactions and verification of identity?

The Australian Registrars' National Electronic Conveyancing Council has confirmed that Identity Agents may conduct a verification of identity using Skype, FaceTime and Zoom.

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Leasing during lockdown – land tax and payroll tax relief during COVID-19

n an effort to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 shutdown, Australian states and territories will grant land tax relief to eligible landlords and payroll tax relief for impacted businesses.

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Cash is king: completing a construction project during a pandemic

In the second of our series of articles, we set out some risks and opportunities for contractors to be mindful of when completing a project in the age of the coronavirus.

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