Commercial (including retail) tenants and landlords
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Supports to continue into 2022
PLEASE NOTE: the Victorian Government’s extended Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (the Scheme) ended on 15 March 2022. The Victorian Small Business Commission will continue to offer free mediations to help resolve rent relief disputes for applications received up to 30 June 2022, whether or not the tenant was eligible for the Scheme. From 1 July 2022 the cost of mediation will return to $195 per party, per session.
Although commercial tenants are no longer entitled to rent relief, tenants and landlords can choose to talk with each other about their situation and try to negotiate and agree on relief going forward.
Where they can’t agree, either the tenant or landlord can apply to the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) for free and impartial help to resolve the matter.
Dispute resolution under the previous and extended Schemes
Either the tenant or landlord can still apply to us for free help to resolve their dispute:
- under the extended Scheme (16 January to 15 March 2022) – to make sure the tenant was eligible and met the Scheme’s requirements, see questions 13 and 16 of our FAQs
- under the previous Scheme (28 July 2021 to 15 January 2022) – to make sure the tenant was eligible and met the Scheme’s requirements, see questions 9 and 12 of our previous FAQs.
Asking for relief and negotiating ‘in good faith’
When it comes to making and responding to requests for relief and having negotiations, landlords and tenants can choose to be guided by our recommended process. We encourage tenants and landlords who enter into negotiations to do so in good faith.
- communicating with each other honestly and fairly with a real want to reach agreement
- behaving in an open and transparent way
- providing accurate information – and enough of it – to support negotiations.
When negotiating, it is important to remember that landlords are no longer required to provide rent relief to their tenants.
How we can help
If negotiation hasn’t resulted in a fair agreement or the tenant or landlord has refused to negotiate, either party can apply for our free help.
Help includes assistance early on – often just over the phone – and if the matter can’t be resolved this way, we can arrange a free mediation session. This is where an independent and experienced professional – the mediator – helps the tenant and landlord to reach an agreement they can both accept.
Before mediation, we encourage tenants and landlords to think about:
- the outcome they’re after
- what might be important to the other party
- compromises they’re prepared to consider.
To apply for our help, access our application forms.
For more information, see our:
- FAQs on topics including requesting rent relief, responding to a request, rent increases and applying for help to resolve a dispute
- recommended process for tenants and landlords
- scenario showing rent relief negotiations and ways we can help
- FAQs for the previous and extended Schemes (both of which have ended).
If you have any questions, contact the VSBC on 13 8722 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I end my lease early?
Some tenants who have seen a downturn in trade might be wanting to end their lease early. As a lease is a legally binding agreement, we encourage tenants in this situation to communicate with their landlord as early as possible to discuss their position and options. Read more
Looking after yourself
We encourage all small business people who are feeling stressed or concerned about their business to call the Partners in Wellbeing helpline on 1300 375 330. The helpline is free and confidential, and gives one-on-one access to trained wellbeing coaches, financial counsellors and business advisors who can help.
General retail leasing information
As a retail tenant or landlord, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities under the Retail Leases Act 2003, including in relation to essential safety measures, security deposits, disclosure statements, options and renewals, early rent review and cooling off.