Please see the information below regarding yesterday’s (15 April 2020) announcement from the Victorian Government of a commercial tenancy relief scheme to alleviate financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). For commercial tenants and landlords, the scheme will provide the following support:
- a six-month moratorium on commercial tenancy evictions for the non-payment of rent for small to medium enterprises with an annual turnover under $50 million that have experienced a minimum 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to coronavirus (COVID-19), commencing from 29 March 2020
- a freeze on rent increases during the moratorium for commercial tenants
- a rental payment waiver or deferral proportionate to commercial tenants’ income reduction due to coronavirus (COVID-19), to be negotiated between the tenant and landlord
- a mediation service for commercial tenants and landlords to support fair tenancy negotiations.
The Government will also provide land tax relief to commercial or industrial landlords that provide rent relief to their tenants, provided:
- the tenant’s annual turnover doesn’t exceed $50 million
- the business is an eligible business in the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program, and
- the business is suffering financial stress or hardship as a result of the pandemic.
Where landlords and tenants are in a situation where the tenant is having trouble paying their rent because of coronavirus (COVID-19), we (VSBC) recommend tenants first read their lease closely to make sure they understand their rights and obligations. If anything is unclear, they should seek legal advice or contact the VSBC us for help on 13 8722 or at email@example.com Tenants and landlords are encouraged to communicate as early as possible to try to reach an agreement, and if this fails, they can contact us. The VSBC can provide advice and help resolve retail leasing disputes through their mediation service. Please keep checking the VSBC website and social media for further updates. Information supplied by the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) 16 April 2020