On 3 August 2021, the Victorian Government announced the re-introduction of legislative framework to provide for further rent relief between commercial landlords and tenants in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The current scheme expired on 28 March 2021.
We expect new Regulations will be announced shortly and further certainty as to the details of the framework will be provided at the same time. However, we anticipate this scheme will largely mirror the previous COVID-19 relief package and note we expect the new scheme to have the following features:
- The applicable period will commence from 28 July 2021 and is expected to end on 15 January 2022 (end date to be confirmed).
- Similar eligibility criteria for “Eligible Tenants”, being SME tenants with an annual turnover of less than $50M with a demonstrated drop in turnover greater than 30%. We note that given the Job Keeper scheme has ended, this will no longer be an applicable requirement.
- Rent relief will be proportional to the drop in turnover.
- Any existing deferred rent repayment requirements under the initial scheme (which expired on 28 March 2021) may be frozen until 15 January 2022 at the election of the tenant and added to any rent deferred under the new scheme.
- Evictions are prohibited without obtaining first going to mediation facilitated by Victorian Small Business Commission.
- Landlords will be provided with land tax relief of up to 25%, in addition to any previous relief.
- Smaller landlords may be eligible for payments if acute hardship can be demonstrated from a $20 million hardship fund.
We will continue to keep you informed once further details are announced in respect to the Regulations. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.