- Relief has been broadened to include a broader range of eligible tenants
- Relief will be in the form of a proportionate reduction in rent
- Small landlords can apply for hardship fund payments
Further relief for commercial tenants struggling with rent payments has been announced by the Victorian government.
The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme intends to help small and medium-sized businesses with turnover below $50 million that have experienced a 30% or more decline in turnover.
Eligibility for the relief has been broadened with tenants able to choose three consecutive months between 1 April and 30 September 2021 to compare with turnover over the same three months in 2019.
The relief will be in the form of a proportionate reduction in rent, so a business with 40% pre-pandemic turnover will only be charged 40% rent. Of the balance, at least half must be waived, the remainder can be deferred.
The Victorian Small Business Commission will support tenants and landlords to negotiate an agreement and free mediation for those needing assistance.
Assistance will be provided for new businesses that have commenced trading since April 2019.
To compensate landlords, the Victorian government said it will provide land tax relief of up to 25%, in addition to any previous relief.
Small landlords – or “mum and dad investors” – who are able to demonstrate acute hardship will be eligible to apply for hardship fund payments.
“We know businesses are doing it tough – that’s why it’s important that we continue to back them with practical measures, including rent relief,” said Jaala Pulford, the Minister for Small Business.
“We want everyone to get a fair outcome – the Victorian Small Business Commission will provide free support to businesses to help them negotiate an agreement with landlords if they’re unable to reach an agreement themselves.”
Jaala Pulford, Minister for Small Business
The Victorian government also previously announced eligibility for the scheme will be a one-time test, meaning businesses eligible at the beginning will remain so throughout the program.