New legislation will be introduced today by the Victorian Government to provide rent relief to commercial tenants that have experienced a loss in turnover of more than 30 per cent during the pandemic period.
The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme will see eligible businesses benefit from rent relief, with tenants and landlords encouraged to enter negotiations as soon as possible.
Under the Scheme, relief will be calculated by comparing business turnover for the final quarter of FY21 with turnover from the pre-pandemic corresponding period in FY19.
Tenants will only be eligible if the drop between the two periods is greater than 30 per cent, and the decrease will also determine the amount of initial relief available to the tenant.
Businesses that were not operating in 2019 will not be excluded from the scheme, with special arrangements to be put in place to assess turnover impacts for new companies.
Eligibility for the scheme will be a one-time test; businesses which are eligible at the beginning of the scheme will remain eligible throughout, with the proportion of rent relief adjusted in line with their turnover.
Landlords will also receive assistance from the Government in the form of land tax relief of up to 25 per cent, and small landlords who can demonstrate "acute hardship" will be eligible to apply for payments as part of a $20 million fund.
"It's encouraging to see the way tenants and landlords are working together to achieve fair outcomes and this new legislation will ensure they get the support they need," Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford said.
"We know many small businesses have had a tough time due to the pandemic, but these changes will provide them with more security going forward and help them get back on their feet."
Updated at 9.58am AEST on 3 August 2021.
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