4 Feb 2022

Small businesses doing it tough during the latest COVID-19 wave can get further rent relief thanks to new regulations introduced by the Victorian Government.

The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme has been extended to provide financial relief to commercial tenants with an annual turnover of up to $10 million whose turnover has declined by at least 30 per cent due to the pandemic.

The new regulations operate retrospectively from 16 January 2022 and run to 15 March 2022. Your small business can demonstrate eligibility by comparing your January 2022 turnover to your January 2020 turnover. It is important that your business continues to pay the amount of rent that you’ve requested, as required under the regulations, to be eligible.

Under the Scheme, commercial landlords are required to provide eligible tenants with proportional rent relief. For example, a business with a turnover of 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels could only be charged 40 per cent of its rent. Of the balance, at least half the rent must be waived, with the remainder to be deferred. The freeze on rent increases will also continue.

Most commercial landlords and tenants will negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement and the Victorian Government applauds the many commercial landlords who have already backed Victorian businesses by providing rent relief to their tenants.

To help with this process, the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) will continue providing information and free mediation to tenants and landlords as required. The Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund, another key component of the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme, is also about to be reintroduced, with details announced soon.

For further information about the new rent relief regulations for small and family businesses, contact the VSBC on 13 87 22 or visit vsbc.vic.gov.au.

There are many more resources on our website to help you start, operate and grow a successful business in Victoria.