Rental relief for businesses, hardship fund for landlords in new support package

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Thousands of hard-pressed Victorian small and medium businesses are set to benefit from the reintroduced Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme in a state government effort that will provide rental relief for eligible tenants, as well as an $80 million hardship fund for their landlords.

Businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and who can show a hit to their businesses of at least 30 per cent due to coronavirus can claim a proportionate rent reduction.

At least half of the rent reduction must be permanently waived, while the rest can be deferred.

A mediation service for tenants and landlords will further support fair tenancy negotiations, with tenants and landlords encouraged to enter negotiations directly.

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) will resume its role offering mediation if the parties cannot reach agreement.

Landlords will not be able to lock out or evict tenants without a determination from the VSBC.

The tenancy scheme comes on top of a fresh $400 million Victorian Business Support Package which will deliver an additional $400 million to Victorian businesses, with funding to be split 50/50 between the Commonwealth and state governments.

The package includes a new $85 million Small Business COVID Hardship Fund and $156 million Business Continuity Fund.

There will be $70 million for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 and $9.8 million for Alpine Business Support.

More to come

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