The new Regulations that extend (and amend) the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme in Victoria have now been passed and are in force. Apart from widely publicised amendments to the regulations and enabling legislation (such as an extension of the scheme until 31 December 2020) a rather extraordinary component of the amended regulations is the power given to the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) to make binding rent relief determinations in circumstances where a landlord has not discharged its obligations.

The regulations provide under new Division 1A that the VSBC can make an order for rent relief in circumstances where the VSBC is of the opinion that the landlord has not responded to the tenant’s application for rent relief or has not engaged in mediation in good faith.

These additional powers stand as a warning to landlords that they need to act promptly in responding to requests for relief from tenants in distress and that they must ensure they approach negotiations in a reasonable manner.

The complete text of the regulations as amended can be found here. If you require guidance or assistance in negotiating an outcome with a tenant or landlord under the commercial tenancy scheme, contact us for on-point, practical advice.

Joseph Carneli
Senior Associate