Tenants can apply anytime up until 15 January 2022, but eligible tenants who apply on or by 30 September 2021 can receive back dated relief to 28 July 2021. Don’t miss the 30 September deadline. Check your eligibility today!
In August, the State Government reintroduced the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS) to ease the burden on commercial tenants still struggling with rent payments as a result of the disruptive COVID-19 pandemic.
With the State Government’s announcement of new regulations on 25 August, the CTRS requires landlords to provide commercial tenants with rent relief proportional to the business’ decline in revenue. For example, businesses that have lost 50 per cent of their revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, may only be charged 50 per cent of the rent owed. Of the balance owed by the tenant, at least half must be waived, with the remainder to be deferred.
To be eligible, the tenant must have experienced a decline of at least 30 per cent of revenue, be a small or medium-sized business, and have an annual turnover of less than $50 million.
When determining the timeline for when revenue has declined, tenants are now able to choose three consecutive months between 1 April and 30 September 2021, and compare their turnover to the same three-month period in 2019.
Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Paul Guerra said, “We were pleased to see the reintroduction of the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme. It shows the State Government is listening to Victorian businesses whose rent bills continue to pile up while they remain shut or under capacity constraints that prevent them from drawing a viable income, if any.
“We encourage all small and medium-sized businesses to check their availability for the scheme and apply to alleviate some of the pressures placed on them.”
Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford said, “We know businesses are doing it tough – that’s why it’s important that we continue to back them with practical measures, including rent relief.
"We want everyone to get a fair outcome – the Victorian Small Business Commission will provide free support to businesses to help them negotiate an agreement with landlords, if they’re unable to reach agreement themselves."
In a bid to also support landlords, the Victorian Government will provide land tax relief of up to 25 per cent, in addition to any previous relief. Landlords who can demonstrate severe hardship will be eligible to apply for payments as part of a $20 million hardship fund.
The CTRS will apply retrospectively from 28 July 2021 but businesses must apply by 30 September to have that retrospectivity recognised, and will run until 15 January 2022.
Tenants and landlords can contact the Victorian Small Business Commission for further information.