Victoria’s coronavirus moratorium on commercial property evictions extended

The moratorium on commercial property evictions and rent increases has been extended.
The moratorium on commercial property evictions and rent increases has been extended.

Victorian commercial property tenants will be further protected from rent increases and evictions under renewed measures from the State Government during the second wave of coronavirus.

Among the new measures announced on Thursday, a moratorium on rental increases and evictions for commercial tenants will be extended until December 31.

The original moratorium, which began in March, was to end on September 29, but with Melbourne currently under Stage 4 restrictions and a large proportion of businesses unable to trade, it will now run until at least the end of the year.

Businesses and commercial tenants had expressed major concerns about the looming September end date, with their ability to operate severely limited with Melbourne in lockdown and the rest of the state under Stage 3 rules.

The latest measures also include a requirement for commercial landlords to provide rent relief in proportion with their tenants’ drop in rent. 

Previously landlords and tenants were encouraged to reach an agreement if the tenant’s turnover was being heavily impacted, however it will now be mandatory for landlords to provide relief.

“Until now, that proportionality principle has been aspired to,” Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said.

“But we will now make it a very clear and expressed intention that, if you’re identifying a downturn in your capacity, your turnover, then you should have an expectation that that is similarly reflected in terms of the rent relief that you get.”

Around 26,000 agreements for reductions in rent have been finalised with Consumer Affairs Victoria over the past four months, the State Government says.