Originally due to finish at the end of 2020, the Victorian commercial tenancy relief scheme will now expire on 28 March 2021
Following the setback to many Victorian business as a result of COVID-19, the Victorian Government introduced Regulations to implement rent relief measures. The scheme has been extended by the Further Regulations.
How will the Further Regulations affect the commercial rent relief scheme?
The original commercial rent relief measures applied from 29 September 2020 to 31 December 2020. The Further Regulations will now apply to most of those measures.
The Further Regulations have no significant changes, apart from all references to 31 December 2020 being amended to 28 March 2021.
How will the Further Regulations work?
The Further Regulations will continue the following protections for eligible commercial tenants:
- Tenants can request further rent relief from a landlord in accordance with the Regulations; and
- Landlords are prohibited from:
- requesting the payment of deferred rent until after 28 March 2021 unless the parties agree otherwise; and
- evicting tenants for non-payment of rent and outgoings; and
- applying rental increases
What does this mean for commercial landlords and tenants?
There are no further changes to the eligibility criteria and the formula for determining minimum entitlements to relief. But even so, the Further Regulations require tenants to:
- Apply to their landlord requesting rent relief up to 28 March 2021
- Provide evidence of their eligibility
Landlords are only required to provide rent relief from the date of the application. If you are an eligible tenant seeking rent relief until 28 March 2021, you need to apply as soon as possible.
The extension is a win for eligible tenants but not so much for landlords who may have hoped to start receiving full rent payments, in addition to payments of any deferred rent owing, in 2021.
If you are a commercial landlord or tenant and are concerned about the terms of your lease, our property team can advise you about all commercial property issues, including:
- Your commercial rent relief rights
- Your obligations under a commercial lease
- The impact of the extension of time
This article was written by Commercial & Property Lawyer, Evelyn Zeglinas.
DISCLAIMER: We accept no responsibility for any action taken after reading this article. It is intended as a guide only and is not a substitute for the expert legal advice you can receive from marshalls+dent+wilmoth and other relevant experts.