COVID-19 Update | 20 August 2020

Victorian Government extends ban on evictions and rental increases

The Victorian Government will extend a ban on evictions and rental increases until the end of the year, increase assistance and ensure tenant turnover is taken into account in rental negotiations – giving tenants certainty and security they won’t lose their home or workplace during the pandemic.

Under the extension, evictions will continue to be banned for both residential and commercial tenancies until December 31, except in specific circumstances. Rental increases continue to be banned for the same period.

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) offers a service for commercial tenancies and has fielded more than 7,900 rent-related enquiries from small business owners and landlords. Of the cases reaching mediation, more than 90 per cent have resulted in tenants and landlords reaching common ground.

To ensure greater fairness – and support small local businesses – additional measures will also be introduced, with commercial landlords required to provide rent relief in proportion with the fall in turnover being experienced by eligible tenants going forward. After ongoing engagement with small business, the VSBC will now also have greater capacity to make an order on rent relief if a landlord refuses to respond to rent relief requests.

Residential and commercial tenants and landlords will also be able to take advantage of more support, including further land tax reductions and more grant funding.

Residential and commercial landlords may also be eligible for an increased land tax discount – now up to 50 per cent – doubled from the earlier 25 per cent. A fund of $60 million for eligible small commercial landlords will be available via a hardship scheme, which will provide up to $3,000 per tenancy.
Eligible small businesses that own their own commercial premises will also now benefit from land tax relief.

The Government is also encouraging banks to continue working with their customers, both residential and commercial, who are struggling to pay their mortgage as a result of the pandemic.

In addition, a new $600,000 package will ensure advocacy groups can continue to be a voice for vulnerable tenants during coronavirus. This funding will allow Tenants Victoria, Victorian Council of Social Service, Financial Counselling Victoria and Registered Accommodation Association Victoria to provide more training and resources to help tenancy and community sector workers support vulnerable tenants in resolving disputes with their landlords.

It will also ensure information about the Government’s residential tenancies dispute resolution scheme is reaching Victorians from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, along with direct client support.

The National Retail Association will continue to advocate on behalf of our members in relation to this matter. We will update you immediately as new information is released.

If you have any questions please contact our team on 1800 RETAIL (738 245).

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