The information contained in this article is current as at 21 August 2020. To view information on the latest coronavirus updates, please visit our COVID-19 Updates, Webinars and Resources page or alternatively contact us on (03) 9560 2922 for further information on any recent changes.
On 20 August 2020, the Victorian Treasurer has announced an extension to the existing rent relief scheme and some further measures to assist Landlords and Tenants. The actual Regulations are yet to be released and more detail will invariably follow.
In the meantime, we summarise what has been announced as follows:
- The end date on the prohibition to terminating leases (likely for both non-payment of rent and for not trading during the protection period) has been extended to 31 December 2020 from 29 September 2020. The announcement noted that this would not apply to certain ‘specific circumstances’, but details on these have not yet been released. Note that it is also unclear as yet as to how this extension of time will impact any existing agreements on rent relief.
- The current Regulations do not directly link loss in turnover to the rent relief to be provided. This will now be changed to create a direct link between loss in turnover and rent relief, but we will need to see the new Regulations for the exact nature of the link and its impact on rent relief negotiations.
- The Small Business Commissioner is to be given new power to order rent relief if the Landlord refuses to respond to rent relief requests. It is not currently clear what this power will look like, but this is a new power which does not currently exist.
- Small commercial Landlords will have access to a new Hardship Funds for upto $3,000 per tenancy. However, details of the criteria for the fund or a process for application have not yet been released.
- The Land Tax relief has been doubled from 25% to 50% of land tax for Landlords provided that the Landlord has provided at least 50% rent waiver for at least 3 months.
- Owner Occupiers can now also apply for 25% discount in Land Tax if they would have been eligible for relief as a Tenant.
We will continue to release updates as the formal Regulations are issued.
Need further information?
Please do not hesitate to contact our Property Law team if you have any further queries regarding how these changes may impact you. Call us on 1300 205 506 or alternatively fill in the contact form below.
The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Any legal matters should be discussed specifically with one of our lawyers.
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Andre is a Principal of Sharrock Pitman Legal.
He heads our Property Law Group and is an Accredited Specialist in Property Law (accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria). He also deals with Commercial Law. For further information, contact Andre Ong on his direct line (03) 8561 3317.