Date posted: 23/04/2020

VIC Government announces support for tenants and landlords

$500 million package to support residential and commercial tenants and landlords

In brief

  • VIC Government to provide $420 million in land tax relief and $80 million rental assistance fund
  • VIC Government to put freeze on evictions and rental increases for six- month period

On 15 April 2020, the Victorian Government has announced their $500 million package to support tenants and landlords through COVID-19. The package, which is aimed at residential and commercial tenants and landlords will provide $420 million in land tax relief and $80 million in rental assistance for those struggling with the unprecedented economic disruption caused by COVID-19.

Originally, under this package, landlords will need to provide rent relief to impacted tenants and meet certain criteria to be eligible for a 25% discount on land tax and any remaining land tax to be deferred until March 2021. The Victorian State Revenue Office will be establishing a Coronavirus Relief Deputy Commissioner to manage land tax relief claims. 

The Victorian Government has announced on 20 August 2020, further land tax relief for landlords as part of its extension of the commercial and residential tenancy relief schemes until 31 December 2020. 

  • An increased 50% waiver of the property’s 2020 land tax and deferral to 31 March 2021 for landlords of residential and commercial properties who provide eligible tenants with a 50% or more outright rent waiver for at least three months.
  • Owner-occupiers of commercial properties can obtain a 25% waiver of the property’s 2020 land tax, and payment of the remaining tax can be deferred to 31 March 2021, if they would be eligible under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme as if they were a tenant.

Commercial landlords who apply for coronavirus land tax relief must continue to provide rent relief that complies with the requirements of the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme.

Businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million a year and which have experienced more than a 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to COVID-19 will be eligible for the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme. 

Evictions for residential and small to medium sized businesses due to rental arrears will also be under the package (except in some circumstances) and rental increases for commercial and residential tenants are also banned.

Tenants and landlords are encouraged to reach a mutual agreement when it comes to rent reductions. However, if agreements cannot be reached, mediation will be fast-tracked through Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Victorian Small Business Commission to ensure fair agreements are reached for all parties involved. 

There is also an $80 million rental assistance fund for eligible renters who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. To qualify, renters need to provide evidence that shows they have less than $5,000 in savings and would be paying at least 30 per cent of their income in rent. Renters will need to have either gone through the mediation process (as mentioned above) through Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Victorian Small Business Commission or will need to register their revised rental agreements with Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Victorian Premiers’ media release

Read the Victorian Premiers’ media release on supporting Tenants and Landlords through Coronavirus

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State Revenue Office Victoria website

Read about the tax relief for landlords and businesses.

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