The Victorian Government introduced new legislation yesterday to provide rent relief to commercial tenants who have experienced a fall in turnover of more than 30 per cent during the pandemic. This support will be through the new Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (the Scheme).
Tenants and landlords are encouraged to negotiate between themselves in good faith as soon as possible, with the aim of reaching a fair rent relief agreement. Rent relief for eligible businesses will be calculated by comparing their turnover for the final quarter of 2020–21 with turnover from the final quarter of 2018–19. The percentage drop will determine the amount of initial rent relief.
For new businesses that weren’t operating in 2019, special arrangements will allow for assessing the impacts on their turnover.
To ensure fairness for all, a mandatory reassessment of turnover will be required further into the new Scheme. Businesses that are eligible at the beginning of the Scheme will stay eligible for its full duration, with the proportion of rent relief adjusted in line with their turnover.
For eligible rent relief requests under the new Scheme where there is an agreement already in place from the first Scheme, deferred rent repayments under that agreement will be frozen until 15 January 2022, at which point the outstanding amount will be added to the deferred rent accrued during the current Scheme.
The Victorian Government will provide land tax relief of up to 25 per cent, in addition to any previous relief, to landlords who provide rent relief to their eligible tenants. Small landlords who can show acute hardship will be eligible to apply for payments as part of a $20 million hardship fund.
The protections, which will include tenant protections against eviction, will be backdated to start from when the Scheme was announced on 28 July 2021.
Tenants and landlords are encouraged to enter negotiations directly, with the VSBC available to provide mediation if parties cannot reach a satisfactory agreement.
Tenants and landlords can contact the Victorian Small Business Commission for further information on 13 87 22 or visit vsbc.vic.gov.au.
Should you have any questions or need any help to ensure you receive all available assistance, please reach out to our team at Rose Partners and we will do our best to assist.
The Team at Rose Partners