What is the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund?
The Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund is a grant opportunity created to provide assistance to some small private landlords who may not have the financial capacity to provide the rent reduction to their CTRS-eligible tenants.
On 15 April 2020, the Victorian Government announced the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS) 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 CTRS 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 CTRS was implemented from 29 March 2020.
The CTRS provides:
- 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);
- Government-supported dispute resolution mechanisms to help tenants and landlords renegotiate lease agreements, including rent reductions through waivers and deferrals; and
- 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.
Each grant amount will be equal to the amount of the rent waiver provided to the tenant, up to $3,000 per eligible tenancy. A rent waiver is where the rent or part of the rent owed for an agreed period of time is never repaid.
Landlords can apply if they meet all the criteria. Note: please also read the program’s guidelines for legal clarification of each criterion.
- The applicant must be 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).
- The applicant 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.
- The applicant is a landlord (or are landlords) to one or more properties where a tenant is eligible for Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme 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.
- The applicant has provided rent relief to the tenant in accordance with the current regulations (and as evidenced in the current lease agreement) that must be at least 30 percent of total rent payable, of which at least 50 percent of the rent relief is in the form of a waiver for the equivalent of a minimum three-month period:
- Before the date of commencement of this Fund; or
- After the date of the commencement of this Fund.
- The applicant must be in financial hardship, or about to be in financial hardship, due to reducing rent for the relevant CTRS-eligible tenant.
- Please refer to the examples of grant funding eligibility in the FAQ section to help clarify the application of this fund.
The Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund opens 21 August 2020 for eight weeks or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.