The Victorian Association for Newsagents.

New resources to support Victoria’s commercial tenants and landlords

Dear Members,

New resources to support Victoria’s commercial tenants and landlords

Following the Victorian Government announcing that it will be extending the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (the Scheme) until 15 March 2022, regulations for the Scheme have been made.
Key changes under the extended Scheme

·         The tenant’s turnover must be under $10 million – Commonwealth grants don’t count towards turnover but Victorian Government grants do, including grants jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.

·         The tenant must have had a drop in turnover of 30 per cent or more because of COVID-19 – this includes tenants who might have been impacted because of lower demand or fewer customers despite business operations not necessarily being directly restricted under public health restrictions.

·         Eligible businesses that make a compliant rent relief request under the extended Scheme will be eligible for relief that matches their fall in turnover backdated to 16 January 2022 – this means there will be no break in protections and supports between the previous and extended Schemes where the tenant is eligible for the extended Scheme.

·         Eligibility is assessed by comparing turnover from January 2020 with turnover from January 2022, or turnover from December 2019 with turnover from December 2021 if the tenant stopped trading for a week or more during January 2020 and started trading again before 16 January 2022.

·         New alternative tests for comparing turnover are available.

·         Deferred rent repayments will start on 16 March 2022 for both the extended and previous Schemes.
As with the previous Scheme:

·         Tenants must continue to pay, as a minimum, their monthly rent reduced by the same percentage as their fall in turnover

·         the Victoria Small Business Commission (VSBC) is offering free and impartial help to resolve disputes over rent relief, including help early on and mediation

·         landlords will be able to apply for a Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund grant where they provide rent relief to their eligible tenants under the Scheme

·         in certain circumstances, tenants can apply to the VSBC for a binding order for rent relief

·         rent increases and evictions are banned for eligible tenants until 15 March 2022.
New VSBC resources

To help make sure tenants and landlords are across what they need to know, the VSBC has developed:

·         a suite of easy-to-search FAQs on topics including steps the VSBC recommends tenants take if they’re struggling to pay rent (see question 16), eligibility (see question 13) and how to calculate fall in turnover (see question 19)

·         new optional letter templates for requesting rent relief (see question 17) and responding to a request (see question 22)

·         a step-by-step process for tenants and landlords

·         scenario showing how negotiations can break down and ways the VSBC can help.

For more information, see the VSBC’s web page for tenants and landlords and if you have any questions, contact the VSBC.

Yours sincerely,

Brendan Tohill | Chief Executive Officer
VANA – Victorian Authorised Newsagents Association
NLNA – National Lotteries Newsagents Association