Further Regulations see the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme extended to 28 March 2021

23 December 2020
Lui Scipioni, Partner, Melbourne Shanna Livingstone, Special Counsel, Melbourne Alexandra Walker, Special Counsel, Melbourne

Just in time for Christmas, the Victorian Government has extended the relevant period under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme from 31 December 2021 until 28 March 2021, the date on which the enabling legislation is also scheduled to expire.

The extension occurs via the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Amendment Regulations 2020 (Further Regulations) released earlier today. A copy can be found here.

Tenants of eligible leases may now seek rent relief from their landlords until 28 March 2021.

There have been no further changes to:

  • the eligibility criteria for relief;
  • the formula for determining a tenant’s minimum entitlement to relief; or
  • the requirements imposed on tenants when requesting relief from landlords.

Relief for eligible tenants must still be, at a minimum, proportionate to the tenant’s decline in turnover from the premises and the requirements for requesting relief (as previously amended on 29 September 2020) apply. This means that tenants may only seek relief for the further extended period from the date they make a compliant request for relief.

As a consequence of the further extended relevant period, the Further Regulations amend all references to 30 December 2020 to 28 March 2021. This includes:

  • prohibiting landlords from requesting that payment of deferred rent begin before 28 March 2021 (previously 31 December 2020) though the parties may agree otherwise; and
  • allowing tenants to seek further relief if a prior agreement does not relate to up to 100% of the rent payable under the eligible lease during the period starting on the date of the tenant’s compliant request and ending on 28 March 2021 (again, previously 31 December 2020).

The extension will be welcomed by all tenants, but particularly those in the hospitality and retail sector who were hardest hit by the prolonged Stage 3 and 4 restrictions imposed on Metropolitan Melbourne from July.

 


Authored by:

Alexandra Walker, Special Counsel

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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