More information on the extended CTRS … and farewell for the year 2020 …

December 28, 2020

Uncategorized

The amendments to the CTRS Regs that came into effect last week are small in number and most of the procedures will be familiar to most readers by now.  However, there are a couple of things about the CTRS Regs 3.0 that are worth noting.

First, a consolidated version of the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020 (Vic) reflecting the amendments as at 22 December 2020 is now available on the Victorian Government website here: https://content.legislation.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-12/20-31sra003%20authorised.pdf

Thanks to Gary Prince for sending that link to me this afternoon.

Secondly, the OSBC’s website has been updated to reflect the CTRS Regs 3.0. 

The OSBC’s FAQs are available here: https://www.vsbc.vic.gov.au/fact-sheets-and-resources/faqs/#commercial-tenancy-relief-scheme-support-for-tenants-and-landlords-in-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19-faqs

The website contains the basic information that landlords and tenants require when dealing with a request for further rent relief.

I believe the OSBC’s website also has an updated precedent letter for requesting rent relief for the period 1 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 that tenants can use to expedite the process.

Thirdly, there is an argument that a request for rent relief made on or before 31 December 2020 allows a tenant to seek rent relief based on its figures from the last completed quarter (ie the quarter ending September 2020).  For many tenants, those figures will show a greater downturn than trade figures over the quarter ending December 2020.  However, the argument is not available if tenants make the request on or after 1 January 2021 and a request made on or after 1 January 2021 would be based on December quarter figures.

The argument has not been tested yet, and questions of statutory interpretation like this are notoriously difficult.  However, it would be prudent for a tenant to make an application now to at least leave the argument open.

Fourthly, as with the second version of the CTRS Regulations, a request for rent relief for the period ending 28 March 2021 only gives the tenant an entitlement to rent relief from the date of the request – it does not operate retrospectively.  Consequently, if the tenant makes a request on 15 January 2021, the tenant is only entitled to rent relief from 15 January to 28 March 2021, not from 1 January 2021.  Again, this is a good reason for tenants to make their request for rent relief before the end of the year (or as early as possible in 2021).

Finally, I would like to thank all of my subscribers for your support over the last hair-raising year.  Special thanks go to Justice Croft, to Alan Wein (mediator and retail guru), to Mark Schramm (from the Office of the Small business Commission) and to Jamie Bedelis, Malwina Peacock, Paul Nunan and Peter Lowenstern (all from the Law Institute of Victoria’s Leases Committee), who have been an amazing source of information and discussion as the law has emerged and evolved this year.  I’m sure we are all looking forward to a much calmer and more stable 2021.  

Happy New Year everyone!

About Sam Hopper

Sam is a property and insolvency barrister.

View all posts by Sam Hopper

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