Commercial Tenancy Relief Announced for Eligible Businesses in the Wake of Lockdown 5.0

Insights by Emma Milne (Senior Associate), Velocity Legal

The Victorian Government is reintroducing the Commercial Tenancy Rent Relief scheme for eligible businesses. This time incorporating a hardship fund for eligible landlords.Legislation underpinning the scheme is still being considered by parliament. However, based on the announcement from the Victorian Premiere on 28 July 2021, we understand that:

1. rent relief will be available for businesses:

a. with an annual turnover of less than $50 million; and
b. who have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30 percent due to coronavirus;

2. like the extensions to the old scheme, rent relief is expected to be proportional with a business’s reduction in turnover. At least half of the reduction must be waived, with the remainder is to be deferred;

3. the Victorian Small Business Commissioner’s ability to mediate rent relief disputes is being reinstated; and

4. an $80 million hardship fund is being created for eligible landlords who provide rent relief to eligible tenants.

The scheme is expected to apply retrospectively from 28 July 2021.

 

Expected Application of the Scheme

We expect that the regulations will be somewhat similar to the regulations underpinning the original rent relief scheme. Some helpful articles about the original scheme are available here and here.

Landlord’s who are considering taking action against tenants for non-payment of rent after 28 July 2021 are cautioned that their actions may be in breach of the new scheme and are urged to obtain legal advice before attempting to evict a tenant who is likely to be eligible for relief.

Tenant’s are reminded that eligibility under the original scheme required a tenant’s request to be accompanied by various statements, information and evidence. A defective request can result in ineligibility for relief. Accordingly, any correspondence with landlords prior to the release of the regulations should be reassessed once the regulations are available to ensure that the process has been correctly followed.

 

More to Come

Additional details will be provided once the legislation is released.

Our team is on hand to assist. Please contact us if you have any questions about your specific lease.

Insight Authors…

EMMA MILNE

Senior Associate

Emma is a gun at property law. She is relentless and meticulous in finding solutions for her clients. Whether developer, landlord, tenant or investor, she gets the job done. You’ll also be in good company if you’re a Melbourne Storm, Renegades or Pies fan.

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