The Victorian Government has announced it will extend the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS) until 15 March 2022, to provide continued financial support to small businesses affected by COVID-19.
The CTRS was first introduced in 2020 and reintroduced in 2021 to provide rent relief and protections for commercial tenants and landlords experiencing hardship as a result of the pandemic. The extended CTRS in 2022 will be similar to previous iterations, but with some changes.
How does the extended 2022 CTRS differ from the 2021 scheme?
The extended CTRS will support businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million that have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more due to COVID-19. Note that this differs from the 2021 scheme which supported businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million.
As in the 2021 scheme, the extended scheme will require landlords to provide rent relief equal to the tenant’s fall in turnover. At least half of the rent relief amount will still need to be waived. Further, the eviction moratorium will continue such that landlords cannot evict tenants or increase rent without undertaking mediation with the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC). VSBC will continue to provide free assistance, guidance and mediation.
Eligible commercial landlords that have provided rent relief to tenants will continue to receive support through the $20 million Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund.
Will there be any gap between the 2021 and extended 2022 scheme?
The extended scheme will operate retrospectively, starting 16 January 2022. This will ensure that tenants receiving support under the 2021 scheme who are also eligible for the extended 2022 scheme will not experience any gap in support.
What do I need to do?
Tenants and landlords should continue to abide by the conditions in their existing rent relief agreement. Check the VSBC’s website and FAQs in the coming weeks for updates as the regulations for the extended scheme are released. Landlords should note that tenants that have deferred rent under the 2021 scheme will have more time to repay under the 2022 extension.