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Commercial tenancy relief for Victorians in small business

To support Victoria’s small and medium-sized businesses, the Victorian Government is making it a requirement from today for commercial landlords to provide rent relief that matches their tenants’ fall in turnover in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), where the tenant is eligible for this support.

For example, if a business has a turnover that’s 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, the business owner can only be required to pay 40 per cent of their rent. Of the balance, at least half must be waived with the remainder deferred.

This move reintroduces the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (the Scheme), which will be available to businesses with an annual turnover under $50 million that have experienced a fall in turnover of at least 30 per cent due to coronavirus.

To support landlords who provide rent relief to their tenants, the Victorian Government will create an $80 million Landlord Hardship Fund. Both the Scheme and fund are part of the new Victorian Business Support Package, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments.

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) encourages tenants and landlords to negotiate a rent relief agreement between themselves, in good faith. Where this isn’t possible, the VSBC is here to provide free and impartial mediation to help parties reach a fair agreement.

Legislation to enact the Scheme will be introduced soon and will apply from today to make sure rent relief can start immediately.

The VSBC’s website will be updated to reflect today’s announcement.