New rent relief scheme for Victoria

Jul 28, 2021

The Victorian Government has today announced a new rent relief scheme for small to medium sized businesses.

It will be available to tenants with a turnover of less than $50 million and who have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% due to Covid-19.

Under the new scheme, landlords will be required to provide proportionate rent relief to eligible tenants which is consistent with the tenant’s reduction in turnover. At least 50% of the rent relief offered must be by waiver and the remainder by way of deferral.

The new rent relief scheme will be applied from 28 July 2021 and is expected to operate until January 2022.

Landlords who provide rent relief will also be supported by the Victorian Government through the creation of an $80 million hardship fund.

Landlords and tenants will be jointly supported in their negotiations with the availability of mediation through the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC). If the parties are unable to agree on rent relief, then Landlords will not be permitted to lock out or evict eligible tenants without a determination from the VSBC.

With this new rent relief scheme, until we have more details, there are a number of unresolved matters to consider. As this scheme is not connected to JobKeeper which is no longer in operation, what evidence will tenants be required to provide to show they are eligible and what will the comparison period be to show the reduction in turnover? Also, how long will landlords need to wait until they can access the hardship fund?

Stand by for more details to come.