The Victorian Government has recently announced that it will extend the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme until 15 March 2022.
The Scheme was reintroduced in July 2021 and provides support and relief to small to medium sized businesses who have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% as a result of COVID. Under the Scheme landlords are required to provide rent relief to commercial tenants in proportion to their reduction in turnover if a request is made. At least 50% of the relief provided by a landlord must be in the form of a waiver of rent, with the remainder provided by way of a rent deferral repayable at a later date.
The ban on landlords evicting tenants will also continue as will the freeze on rental increases.
Any tenant wishing to request rent relief from their landlord must make a formal request in writing which includes a statutory declaration stating that it is an eligible tenant and provide supporting evidence of its fall in turnover as part of their request.
Landlords and tenants are still encouraged to work together in good faith to negotiate any rent relief required, however the Victorian Small Business Commission will continue to provide assistance where a fair rent relief agreement cannot be reached between the parties.
Regulations for the Scheme are expected to be made shortly.
For more information or to talk to one of our Business/Commercial lawyers, please call Anna Doughan in Bendigo on 5434 6666 or John Wellington in Castlemaine on 5472 1588.