Victoria extends rent relief scheme for tenants and landlords

rent relief

Victorian Small Business Commissioner Judy O'Connell.

Eligible Victorian businesses can now receive commercial tenancy relief until March 28, 2021, after the Victorian government extended its rent relief scheme.

Small business tenants seeking rent relief from January 1 to March 28 can apply by contacting their landlords with a written request that outlines their eligibility.

To be eligible, commercial tenants must be small to medium enterprises with an annual aggregated turnover under $50 million that take part in the federal government’s JobKeeper scheme.

Tenants that have already received rent relief throughout 2020 are also required to write to their landlords with a fresh application that includes recent evidence of their eligibility.

After a tenant makes their written request, the landlord must offer rent relief within 14 days, unless a different timeframe is agreed to.

Landlords are only required to offer rent relief from the date they received the tenants written letter with evidence of eligibility.

The support is a continuation of 2020 scheme intended to relieve financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of coronavirus.

The support:

  • Requires commercial landlords to give rent relief that matches their eligible tenant’s fall in turnover;
  • Bans rent increases and evictions for tenants that have requested rent relief and provided evidence of eligibility.

To make applying easier, the Victorian Small Business Commission has created a letter template that small business tenants can use when contacting their landlords.

Commercial tenants that cannot reach an agreement with their landlord are encouraged to apply for free mediation with the Victorian Small Business Commission.

The Victorian Small Business Commission is also assisting tenants with landlords that do not respond to or engage in mediation in good faith.

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