State Government Announces Landlord and Tenant Relief

Last week we issued a publication on the release of the Federal Government’s mandatory code of conduct for commercial leasing (Code).

In support of the National Cabinet agreement to implement the Code the State Government has announced that it will urgently legislate so that businesses eligible for the JobKeeper program can also access the Code’s rental waivers and deferrals proportionate to the tenants’ income reduction.

The legislation will come into effect from 29 March for a period of six months. The legislation is expected to become law on Thursday 23 April.

Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement is aimed at not only commercial tenancy relief but also residential tenancy relief in a package estimated to be worth $500 million.

The announcement also endorses the Code’s temporary ban on termination for non-payment of rent, restrictions on rental increases for six months and a mediation service for commercial tenants and landlords to support fair tenancy negotiations.

To encourage landlords to provide rental relief the Victorian Government will also legislate to provide a 25% discount on land tax with the balance eligible for deferral until March 2021, provided:

  • the tenant’s annual turnover doesn’t exceed $50 million;
  • is an eligible business in the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program; and
  • is suffering financial stress or hardship as a result of the pandemic.

The Victorian Government will also provide land tax relief to residential landlords who provide rent relief to eligible tenants.

We have been facilitating commercial landlord and tenant negotiations guided by the provisions of the Code in anticipation of it becoming law in Victoria.

For support in understanding the Code, facilitating discussion and documenting temporary commercial tenancy arrangements please contact the Beck Legal team on 54453333.


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