The current changes impacting the commercial property industry in Victoria

Since the beginning of 2020 the commercial property sector has seen unparalleled changes to their operations, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However, to get through this virus Victorians must work together and that partnership extends from tenants and landlords, and all the way to banks and the government.

In the beginning of March, the Victorian government implemented legislation and regulations, to assist landlords in navigating the current commercial property industry, and their tenants.

On August 20, the Victorian government announced further changes regarding the rules and regulations for commercial property, landlords and tenants; due to the challenges faced during Stage 4 restrictions.

Commercial and residential tenants and landlords will now be able to take advantage of more support, including further land tax reduction and more grant funding.

We have summarised the updated rules and regulations, and included relevant weblinks, so that you can understand the assistance available, and what changes are relevant to you:

Land tax reduction – The relief measures for land tax include a deferral of 2020 land tax until the 31st March 2021 for all landowners, who own at least one non-residential property and have total taxable landholding below $1million.

The discounts on land tax and deferrals of remaining land tax being offered to landlords, has now been increased to 50% for eligible commercial landlords who offer eligible tenants a 50% or more rent waiver for at least 3 months. Additionally, the Commercial Landlord Hardship 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. The CTRS scheme was created to support commercial tenants whose income has been affected by the pandemic.

Eligible small business that own their own commercial premises will also now benefit from land tax relief. To find out more, head here:

Landlord assistance – A fund of $60 million will be eligible to small commercial landlords, who have taxable land holdings less than $1million as at 31 December 2020. They will be able to apply for the “hardship scheme”, that can provide up to $3,000 per tenancy to small commercial landlords.

(Please note the fund is only open for eight weeks from August 21, 2020). To find out more, head here:

Rent increases are not permitted for tenants receiving Rent Relief until after 31 December 2020. Tenant lockouts/evictions are not permitted in most circumstances until after the 31st of December 2020. To find out more, head here:

The Victorian Small Business Commission has also been granted increased powers to direct landlords to provide rent relief in proportion with the fall in turnover for eligible tenants. In addition, $600,000 has been allocated to fund advocacy groups to be a voice for vulnerable tenants. 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 and corresponding restrictions.

Just Commercial continues to work hard every day to ensure that we continue to facilitate results simultaneously between our 500 + tenants and 200 landlords in this ever changing and challenging rent relief period.