AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO TENANTS ABOUT THE COMMERCIAL TENANCY RELIEF SCHEME FROM THE VICTORIAN SMALL BUSINESS COMMISSION

October 2, 2020

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An email has been circulating from the Victorian Small Business Commission to tenants about the operation of the Amending Regulations under the CTRS that readers of this blog will be interested in. The text of the VSBC’s email (with hyperlinks from the original email) reads as follows:

 Dear tenant

The Victorian Government has extended the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (the Scheme) so that tenants can request rent relief between 29 September to 31 December 2020 (the extended period).

To request rent relief in the extended period you must write to your landlord and provide further information that fully complies with the requirements of the extended Scheme.

During the extended period:

1.         A tenant is only entitled to rent relief from the date they make a written application to their landlord that contains all of the required information. For example, if a tenant requests rent relief on 1 October 2020 but does not provide all of the necessary information until 15 October 2020, then their landlord is only obliged to make a rent relief offer from 15 October 2020. 

2.         If you have already applied to the VSBC or your landlord prior to 29 September for rent relief that spans a period before and after this date, you should consider immediately making another written rent relief application to the landlord ensuring that you provide all the information required under the extended Scheme. This action is strongly advised because it is unlikely that a rent relief application made before 29 September 2020 for a period after this date will have complied with the requirements of the extended Scheme. 

3.         A commercial landlord is required to offer rent relief that is in proportion to the fall in turnover experienced by their eligible tenant. For example, if a tenant’s turnover has fallen by 40 per cent, the required rent relief is to be at least 40 per cent of the tenant’s current rent, with at least 50 per cent of the rent relief made up of a rent waiver. To apply for rent relief for October to December 2020, it is not necessary to wait for turnover information for those months.

The Victorian Small Business Commission’s (VSBC) website includes the information a tenant must provide to their landlord when requesting rent relief and a letter template that tenants can use in making a rent relief request.

If you have any questions,please contact the VSBC. If you have a dispute about rent relief, please apply to the VSBC for help in resolving the matter through free mediation.

About Sam Hopper

Sam is a property and insolvency barrister.

View all posts by Sam Hopper

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