The Victorian Government is extending the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS). The scheme provides rent relief and protection for commercial tenants and landlords experiencing hardship as a result of the pandemic.
The CTRS was created in 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic, and reintroduced in July 2021 in response to the Delta outbreak. The extended scheme will be available to businesses with an annual turnover of $10million or less which have suffered a minimum 30% decline in turnover due to COVID-19.
Landlords will be required to provide proportional rent relief. For example, a business with a turnover of 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels should only be charged 40% rent.
Of the balance, half will be waived and the remainder deferred. The freeze on rent increases will continue.
Meanwhile, the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) will continue to provide mediation support to tenants and landlords in the event parties landlords and their commercial tenants cannot agree on suitable reductions. The eviction moratorium has also been extended. Landlords may not lock out or evict tenants without mediation through VSBC.
Commercial landlords who are impacted by the extension can also receive support through the $20 million Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund.
The Victorian Minister for Business Jaala Pulford said, “Victorian small and family businesses play a critical role in creating jobs and driving economic growth – and that’s why we’re supporting them to get through this challenging period. We have allocated more than $13 billion in funding to businesses across Victoria throughout the pandemic.”
The decision from the Victorian Government comes as Business NSW calls out for similar support to small businesses in the NSW. Rent relief measures will be in place until 15th of March 2022.
Having difficulty reaching an agreement with your landlord? Apply for mediation here.
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