Commercial (including retail) tenants and landlords
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Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme: responding to coronavirus
The Victorian Government has introduced a Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (the Scheme) to alleviate financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).
For more information about the Scheme, see:
- our responses to frequently asked questions
- our leasing advice and scenarios in English, Simplified Chinese, Arabic and Vietnamese
- the Victorian Government’s policy guidance.
What does the Scheme provide?
For commercial tenants and landlords, the Scheme provides the following support:
- A six-month moratorium on commercial tenancy evictions for the non-payment of rent for small to medium enterprises with an annual turnover under $50 million that have experienced a minimum 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to coronavirus (COVID-19), commencing from 29 March 2020
- A freeze on rent increases during the moratorium for commercial tenants
- A rent payment waiver or deferral taking into account the commercial tenants’ income reduction due to coronavirus (COVID-19), to be negotiated between the tenant and landlord
- A free mediation service for commercial tenants and landlords, accessed through the VSBC, to support fair tenancy negotiations
The Government is also providing land tax relief to commercial or industrial landlords that provide rent relief to their tenants, provided:
- the tenant’s annual turnover doesn’t exceed $50 million
- the business is an eligible business in the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper scheme, and
- the business is suffering financial stress or hardship as a result of the pandemic.
The Government is also providing land tax relief to residential landlords who provide rent relief to eligible tenants.
If you would like to discuss your commercial tenancy situation please email the VSBC at email@example.com or call 13 8722.
If a commercial tenant or landlord is in a situation where the tenant is having trouble paying rent because of coronavirus (COVID-19), we recommend tenants keep paying what they can afford, work out what their financial situation is (i.e. what their reduction in turnover is) and talk to their landlord to try to reach an agreement on rent relief.
It is important for tenants and landlords to communicate with each other about their situation as early as possible to try and reach an agreement. If anything is unclear or if they have concerns, they can contact us. If they do find themselves in a dispute, the tenant or landlord can apply to the VSBC for help in resolving the matter through mediation.
Process for commercial tenants and landlords
Learn more about the process for commercial tenants and landlords under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme.
Tenants and landlords who don’t fall under the Scheme
Commercial tenants who have been impacted by coronavirus but don’t fall under the Scheme (e.g. small business owners of pubs, clubs and hotels) are encouraged to contact their landlord to discuss their situation and negotiate rent relief, as guided by the Australian Government’s Mandatory Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies to support SMEs affected by coronavirus.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the tenant or landlord can apply for free mediation with the VSBC to help resolve their rent dispute.
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing
As a small business owner, creating a mental health plan is one way to make sure you have the strategies in place to look after your mental health and wellbeing.
Access helpful tips and guidance in developing your own mental health plan in response to coronavirus.