By Angela Kordos

3 September 2020

The Premier’s recent press release confirms changes to the Victorian Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS) in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional measures are being introduced in relation to commercial tenancies, including the following:

  • An extension to the prohibition on commercial lease terminations from the current sunset date of 29 September 2020 until the end of this year, 31 December 2020. The ban will apply except in specific circumstances, however it remains to be seen what those ‘specific circumstances’ will be;
  • An extension to the prohibition on rent increases for commercial tenancies from the current sunset date of 29 September 2020 until the end of this year, 31 December 2020;
  • commercial landlords will be required to provide rent relief to eligible tenants in proportion with fall in turnover (we anticipate further clarification will be provided by the Government on this point);
  • the Victorian Small Business Commissioner will now have greater capacity to make an order on rent relief if a landlord refuses to respond to rent relief requests (these powers are new and we anticipate further clarification will be provided by the Government on this point);
  • land tax reductions of up to 50% where a commercial landlord is eligible;
  • land tax relief for eligible small businesses that own their own commercial premises;
  • a fund of $60 million for eligible small commercial landlords will be available via a hardship scheme, which will provide up to $3,000 per tenancy.

If you need advice or assistance with rent relief, if you have a complicated variation to document, or if you otherwise are a landlord or tenant that would like more information or advice on the COVID-19 leasing changes or leasing generally, please contact Angela Kordos or one of our Property Law Team.

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