Following the introduction of the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020 (Vic), many tenants and landlords have been in the unfortunate position of trying to navigate an agreement on rental concessions against a backdrop of regulations which are, to some extent, lacking in clarity. Helpfully, the Small Business Commission (SBC) has recently published some straightforward FAQ’s as to how some of the more controversial provisions of the regulations (and its enabling legislation) are to be interpreted. Among the matters addressed in the FAQs are the following seemingly contentious questions:

  • When requesting rent relief, what document does a tenant need to show to prove they participate in the JobKeeper scheme?
  • What turnover information is appropriate for a landlord to request from the tenant to help inform their offer of rent relief?
  • How is turnover calculated (for the purposes of an agreement on rent relief)?

The FAQs can be accessed here. In addition, the SBC has an Information Sheet entitled “Creating a Mentally Healthy Small Business” which sets out some useful recommendations and resources to help small business owners cope during difficult and challenging times. The Information Sheet also explains how the SBC can assist small businesses in resolving disputes. The Information Sheet can be accessed here.

If you are a landlord or tenant and require assistance and advice in negotiating an agreement on rent relief, contact a member of our team for on-point, practical guidance.

Joseph CarneliSenior Associate