5 Oct 2020 | Judy O’Connell – Victorian Small Business Commissioner

I am pleased to share with you changes that the Victorian Government has made to extend the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (the Scheme) until the end of this year.  Under these changes, an eligible tenant who is seeking rent relief must apply to their landlord in writing with evidence that they are eligible for the Scheme as soon as possible. This is important as rent relief is only available from the date a tenant applies between 29 September 2020 and 31 December 2020.

The VSBC has published a news item with this important information.  See  extended-supports-for-victorias-commercial-tenants-and-landlords

Further changes include the following:

  • Commercial landlords will be required to provide rent relief in proportion to the fall in turnover being experienced by eligible tenants from the date a tenant makes a written application to their landlord within the period 29 September 2020 to 31 December 2020 (for example, if a tenant’s turnover has fallen by 40 per cent, the required rent relief is at least 40 per cent of the tenant’s current rent, with at least 50 per cent of the rent relief offered made up of a rent waiver).
  • Sole traders will be eligible for the Scheme.
  • Tenants can now apply to us for a binding order for rent relief if their landlord fails to respond to us or does not engage in mediation in good faith.
  • The VSBC will keep offering free mediation to tenants and landlords who cannot reach an agreement.

Agreements made before 29 September 2020 still apply. If a tenant seeks further rent relief for the period 29 September 2020 to 31 December 2020, then they will need to make a further request to their landlord providing the required information under the extended Scheme.

Judy O’Connell
Victorian Small Business Commissioner
VSBC publication of 2 October 2020