Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund

Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund

28 August 2020

Following the announcement made by Treasurer Tim Pallas on 20 August 2020, the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund (Fund) has been created in recognition of small, private landlords who may not have the capacity to provide rent reductions to their tenants under the requirements of the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS).

The Fund offers grants of up to $3,000 per tenancy.

Who is eligible?

An eligible applicant:

  • is a private individual (i.e. a person) or joint landlords who are private individuals (i.e. not ownership through Self-Managed Superannuation Fund, Trust or any other incorporated entity);
  • must have total taxable landholdings (which may include part holdings) of less than $1 million as shown by the 2020 State Revenue Office Land Tax Assessment. Where the land does not meet the land tax assessment threshold, a 2019-20 Municipal Rates Notice can be used as evidence for the landholding, excluding principal place of residence;
  • is a landlord (or are landlords) to one or more properties where a tenant is eligible for CTRS in Victoria, meaning that the tenant is:
    • a small to medium enterprise (SME) with a turnover under $50 million with an Australian Business Number (ABN); and
    • participating in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper scheme;
  • has provided rent relief to the tenant in accordance with the current COVID-19 Regulations (and as evidenced in the current lease agreement) that must be at least 30% of the total rent payable, of which at least 50% of the rent relief is waived for the equivalent of a minimum three-month period before/after the start of this Fund; and
  • must be in financial hardship, or about to be in financial hardship, due to reducing rent for the relevant CTRS-eligible tenant.

What does an eligible applicant get?

Each grant amount will be equal to the amount of the rent waiver provided to the tenant, up to $3,000 per eligible tenancy.

Where there are multiple owners of a premises, each owner must apply individually for the grant and the grant will be apportioned to individual applicants according to individual interests in the property (e.g. if there are three part-owners with equal shares in a property leased to a CTRS-eligible tenant, each part-owner is entitled to up to one-third of the eligible amount of a maximum $3,000 grant).

When to apply?

This Fund is now open for applications until 16 October (being eight weeks from 21 August 2020) or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.

How to apply?

An eligible landlord may apply here.

In addition to providing the tenancy details and bank account details, the following information will also need to be provided:

  1. Evidence of the location of the eligible commercial premises through the 2020 Land Tax Assessment notice or 2019-20 Municipal Rates Notice (as applicable). Where the land has not been assessed for land tax in 2020, 2019-20 Municipal Rates Notice can be used as evidence for the landholding.
  2. A copy of the current agreement with the tenant that demonstrates the amount of rent reduction provided in accordance with these guidelines, and attest that this is a current agreement.
  3. The tenant’s contact details including ABN on the current lease agreement to verify CTRS eligibility.

Once submitted, the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions should notify all applicants on the outcome of their submitted application within 10 business days.

The establishment of the Fund demonstrates the Victorian Government’s push to ensure that rent relief is being offered where applicable and such rent relief is properly documented between the parties.

How can we help?

Rigby Cooke’s Property team are available to assist you with negotiating and drafting the appropriate rent relief between parties.

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