As you will be aware, the current pandemic situation continues to provide changes in business processes and legislation. In keeping with our previous updates, we refer to the Victorian Government’s announcement on 20 August 2020 regarding further changes to rules for commercial property, landlords and tenants; due to the challenges of the Stage 4 restrictions.

We have summarised the changes below and included relevant weblinks:

·  Land tax reduction – the amount of discount being offered to landlords has been increased to 50% for eligible landlords who provide 50% or more rent waiver for at least 3 months for eligible tenants. Landlords need to reapply to the State Revenue Office (SRO) for additional consideration. https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/coronavirus#land-tax-reduction-increase

· Landlord Assistance – small commercial landlords (defined as having taxable land holdings less than $1 million as at 31 December 2020) will be able to apply for the “hardship scheme”. This provides up to $3,000 per tenancy. We note the fund is only open for eight weeks from 21 August 2020. https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/commercial-landlord-hardship-fund

· Rental Increases – rent increases are not permitted for tenants receiving Rent Relief until after 31 December 2020. https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/pause-evictions-extended-and-extra-renter-protections

· Tenant Lockouts/Evictions – are not permitted in most circumstances until after 31 December 2020. 

· Victorian Small Business Commission – has been granted increased powers to direct landlords to provide rent relief in proportion with the fall in turnover for eligible tenants. In addition, $600,000 has been allocated to fund advocacy groups to be a voice for vulnerable tenants.

As with previous updates, we endeavour to provide critical information to clients to assist with decision making processes and wherever possible highlight financial opportunities. Should you have any questions in relation to the above, please contact your Property Manager or Crabtrees Directors if you wish to discuss further on 9567 8888.