Along with the proposed legislation to implement the National Code of Conduct (Leasing – COVID‑19) (the Code), the Queensland Government is introducing legislation to implement Land Tax relief, to the tune of more than $400 million, to landlords whose rent receipts are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible landlords can apply for up to three months’ waiver of Land Tax for the FY19/20 and a further three months deferral of Land Tax for the FY 20/21. Additionally, foreign landlords will receive a waiver of the 2% Land Tax foreign surcharge for the FY 19/20. These waivers and deferrals will only apply to each property that meets the eligibility criteria, rather than a blanket application to all of the landlord’s taxable properties.
Landlords are eligible to apply for these waivers and deferrals if either of the following circumstances apply:
While these principles largely encapsulate the terms of the Code, there are a few additional principles that appear to only apply to residential leases:
A landlord who receives Land Tax relief is expected to apply that relief firstly to provide rent relief to their tenants, with any remaining relief then available to be applied against their own financial obligations.
Applications for the three month waiver of Land Tax for the FY 19/20, open Tuesday 14 April 2020 and should be made by going to https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/tax/covid-19 by no later than 30 June 2020. The deferral for the FY 20/21, and the waiver of the foreign surcharge for the FY 19/20, will be applied automatically.
1. What does commensurate with the land tax relief mean?
2. What is an approved ground for eviction purposes?
As noted above, the State Government must now pass legislation to implement both the Code and the Land Tax relief being offered. As always, ‘the devil is in the detail’ and one can only imagine that this will take some time, particularly as the next Parliamentary sitting date is not until 28 April 2020, and one back-bencher MP is already considering seeking amendments to streamline applications for rent relief and imposing a compliance regime on landlords.
In the meantime, we recommend that landlords apply the principles set out in the Code in negotiating with their tenants, apply for any Land Tax relief to which they are entitled, and hold on!
Article written by Fiona Sears (Partner) and Sharon O'Toole (Special Counsel).
 It appears that regulation refers to those leases to which the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (Qld) or the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld) apply.
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