Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund

Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund

What is the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund?

The Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund 3 is a program that provides grants to eligible small landlords who experience hardship as a result of waiving rent for their tenant(s) between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022 under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme.

 

Background

On 15 April 2020, the Victorian Government announced the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme to implement the commercial leasing principles announced by National Cabinet on 29 March providing relief to commercial tenants affected by the COVID-19 crisis through legislation and regulations. The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme has supported tenants and landlords to negotiate reduced rents and has offered land tax relief to landlords who extend rent discounts and waivers to tenants. The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme was implemented from 29 March 2020.

The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme provides:

  1. a moratorium on evictions for the non-payment of rent for small to medium enterprises with an annual turnover of under $50 million that have experienced a minimum 30% reduction in turnover due to coronavirus and freezes on rent increases during the moratorium (commencing 29 March 2020);
  2. Government-supported dispute resolution mechanisms to help tenants and landlords renegotiate lease agreements, including rent reductions through waivers and deferrals; and
  3. a land tax waiver and payment deferral for eligible land taxpayers.

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.

 

Funding

Small landlords who waive commercial rent for their tenants between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022 under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme may be eligible to receive a grant of up to $6000 per eligible tenancy.

The grant amount will be equal to the amount of rent waived per eligible tenancy, up to $6000.

In cases where landlords are experiencing acute hardship because of the rent waiver agreed with their tenant(s), the grant may be increased to a maximum of $10,000 per eligible tenancy.

If there are multiple property owners, grants will be allocated according to ownership share in the property.

 

Eligibility

Landlords can apply if they meet all the eligibility criteria outlined in the program guidelines:

  • be a landlord with total taxable landholdings of less than $3 million, including part holdings but excluding principal place of residence, or where a property is held on trust, the total taxable landholdings of the trust must be less than $3 million
  • be able to confirm property ownership by Customer Number shown on the State Revenue Office Land Tax Assessment Notice or by a 2020-21 Municipal Rates Notice
  • be the landlord of property subject to a Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme eligible tenancy
  • be a landlord with a current lease agreement that provides rent relief to the tenant(s) under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme for any period between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022.

Landlords must attest that commercial rent represents more than 50 per cent of their total gross income for the 2019-20 financial year.

Landlords must confirm:

  • ownership of the property by the Customer Number shown on a State Revenue Office Land Tax Assessment Notice or by a 2020-21 Municipal Rates Notice
  • rent relief to the tenant(s) of a property that is subject to a Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme agreement. You must provide information about the rent relief agreed with your tenant(s) using the Landlord acceptance letter (or similar).

To be considered for acute hardship and apply for a grant of up to $10,000, landlords must also submit a Qualified agent letter using the approved template that includes confirmation that:

  • commercial rent represents at least 70 per cent of their total gross annual income for the 2019-20 financial year
  • the landlord is neither an owner occupier nor a related party of the tenant.

The following circumstances may be considered in deciding to award a grant:

  • any adverse findings by a regulator regarding a property owner
  • an owner or joint owners being declared bankrupt.

All questions in the application must be completed to ensure timely assessment and grant payment.

Landlords may be subject to audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives for a period of seven years after the grant has been approved. Under audit, landlords will be required to show evidence of hardship, such as income tax assessments.

The grant will be repayable on demand if any application information is found to be false or misleading, or the grant is not used in accordance with the terms of funding set out in the program guidelines.

 

Timing

Round 3 applications close 15 January 2022, or when funds are exhausted.

 

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