The National Retail Association is pleased to hear that the Victorian and New South Wales Governments have extended their commercial tenancy support schemes to March 2022. The NRA has lobbied hard for this crucial support to be extended for struggling small business owners, and we continue to advocate for these measures to also be taken in the remaining states and territories as the Omicron variant peaks.
The Victorian Government will extend the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS), providing rent relief and protections for commercial tenants and landlords experiencing hardship through the latest wave of the pandemic.
The CTRS was created in 2020 and reintroduced in July 2021 to support small to medium businesses. It will be extended to 15 March 2022 to provide further financial relief and security for thousands of small businesses across the state.
The extended scheme will be available to businesses with an annual turnover of $10 million or less and which have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent due to COVID-19.
Landlords will be required to provide continued proportional rent relief in line with a reduction in turnover. 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 would be waived, with the remainder to be deferred. The freeze on rent increases will continue.
The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) will continue to provide mediation support to tenants and landlords if parties cannot reach a satisfactory agreement.
The eviction moratorium will continue. Landlords will not be able to lockout or evict tenants without undertaking mediation through the VSBC.
The new regulations will take effect from 16 January 2022. Tenants and landlords should abide by the conditions in their existing agreement. Small and family businesses that already have a deferment will have more time for repayments as a result of this extension.
Many commercial landlords have already backed their fellow Victorians by providing rent relief to commercial tenants, supporting eligible businesses through reduced trading due to COVID-19. Eligible commercial landlords that have provided rent relief to their tenants have received support through the $20 million Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund. They will continue to do so while their tenants are eligible for the scheme.
Visit Victorian Small Business Commission Website
New South Wales Update
Small businesses that are continuing to face challenges due to COVID-19 will benefit from an additional two months of rent relief, with the NSW Government extending its rent relief regulation until March 13.
Commercial and retail tenants will be eligible for the rent relief if they have an annual turnover of less than $5 million and continue to meet the eligibility criteria for JobSaver or the Micro-business Grant, had those programs continued.
Landlords of tenants that have received protections for any period under the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2022 are prohibited from evicting their tenants for certain breaches of the lease, without first attending mediation.
NSW landowners will also have more time now to apply for land tax relief, with applications extended until 28 February for eligible commercial and residential landowners.
Eligible landlords can access the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund, which provides small commercial or retail landlords with a monthly grant up to the value of any rental relief provided, to a maximum of $3,000 per month per property.
Visit the Small Business Commissioner Website