With the coronavirus pandemic easing, commercial tenancy relief scheme in Victoria have started to look at how they want to negotiate rent relief and protections for the remainder of their leases. Those who were eligible for and reached agreement on rent relief under the 2021 scheme will need to make a new request in order to take advantage of the extended scheme, which is effective from 28 July 2021 until 16 March 2022 (the protection period). Tenants are also required to meet additional requirements and will need to ensure that their requests are compliant – otherwise they risk having them lapse.

What are the rules for the commercial tenancy relief scheme in Victoria?

The 2022 scheme is broadly similar to the previous one and aims to assist those who have suffered losses as a result of reduced trading during the pandemic. It will provide rent relief to businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million that have demonstrated a fall in turnover of 30% or more as a result of the effects of COVID-19. In addition, it will support businesses that have been impacted by lower demand or fewer customers despite their operations not being directly closed under public health restrictions.

The scheme also provides that, as with the previous scheme, tenants are protected from being evicted for breach of their lease if they reduce their trading hours or close their business during the protection period. The Victorian Small Business Commission will be available to provide mediation to help landlords and tenants reach a mutually satisfactory agreement on rent relief.