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Victoria extends commercial rent relief 

by Kate Aubrey3 minute read

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The Victorian government has extended its Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS) until 15 March 2022, following suit with the NSW government’s announcement last week. 

The scheme is designed to ease the burden on struggling retail and commercial tenants and encourage renegotiation of terms.

In Victoria, the scheme will be available to businesses with an annual turnover of $10 million or less and which have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent due to COVID-19.

Its operation is retrospective, starting 16 January 2022. 

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Landlords will be required to provide continued proportional rent relief in line with a reduction in turnover. For example, a business with a turnover of 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels could only be charged 40 per cent of its rent.

Of the balance, at least half would be waived, with the remainder to be deferred. 

In NSW, commercial and retail tenants are eligible if they make under $5 million per year and continue to meet the eligibility criteria for JobSaver or the Micro-Business Grant, which ended late 2021.  

Victoria’s Minister for Small Business, Jaala Pulford, said that Victorian small and family businesses play a critical role in creating jobs and driving economic growth. He said that the rent relief extension comes amid the current omicron outbreak.

“We’re supporting them to get through this challenging period,” Ms Pulford said. 

“We have allocated more than $13 billion in funding to businesses across Victoria throughout the pandemic.”

Tenants and landlords are being advised to continue to abide by the conditions in their existing agreements. 

Landlords will not be able to lock out or evict tenants without undertaking mediation through the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC), which will continue to provide support to both parties should a satisfactory outcome not be achieved. 

As part of the extension, small and family businesses that already have a deferment will have more time for repayments and the freeze on rent increases will continue.

Many commercial landlords have already backed their fellow Victorians by providing rent relief to commercial tenants, supporting eligible businesses through reduced trading due to COVID-19.

Eligible commercial landlords that have provided rent relief to their tenants will continue to receive support through the $20 million Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund, while their tenants are eligible for the scheme.

Similar protections will be provided in NSW until 13 March 2022. 

Meanwhile, the South Australia government is offering cash grants of up to $22,000 for eligible hospitality and tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19, as part of a $40 million package.

[Related: Compliance, cash flow top SME stresses: ScotPac]

Victoria extends commercial rent relief 
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