Are you experiencing a loss or a serious downturn in income?  Wondering how on earth you’ll pay the rent? You’re not the only one in that boat!  The global outbreak of COVID19 is having a huge economical impact across the world, and many tenants are experiencing extreme financial hardship.

Needless to say, when tenants can’t pay rent, landlords lose their source of revenue too. Financial pressure and insecurity are tough and relationships between tenants and landlords can become strained.  Avoiding a dispute with your landlord/builder is very important, although we understand that it can be tricky.

Of course, there’s always legal help available and your commercial lease dispute lawyer is ready to help you every step of the way.  But as the old saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’ so let’s look at what you can do to help avoid getting into an argument with your landlord.

If you have suffered loss or reduction of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent changes to the commercial tenant and landlord regulation may help you out:

What  Changes Have Been Made?

On the 23rd April, the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 was passed by the Victorian parliament.  The purpose of these temporary changes is to modify certain regulations relating to tenants and landlords in Victoria, in response to the economic hardship brought about by the pandemic.

The temporary laws have been implemented to relieve hardship, protect tenants from eviction and make it possible for them to negotiate with their landlords about a rent reduction or temporary rental payment plan.

Tenants and landlords are required to comply with both the current measures and the Residential Tenancies Act, 1997.  The new laws are applicable for six months, from 29th March – 29th September 2020.

Who is Eligible for Rent Relief?

Eligible persons are those who have a small to medium-sized business with an annual turnover of less than 50 million who have experienced at least a 30% reduction in turnover due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changes for Tenants

The main takeaway points for commercial tenants in Victoria are set out below:

  • 6-month protection from eviction because of failure to pay rent (for eligible persons)
  • a temporary ban on rent increases in the period 29th March – 29th September 2020.
  • rental payment deferral if the tenant is experiencing a reduction of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • a new dispute resolution process for landlords and tenants

Communication is Key

If you are experiencing loss of income and think that you may be eligible for rent relief, we suggest that you keep paying as much as you can afford, and notify your landlord immediately in writing. Communication is key, and it’s always best to be open and honest in discussing your situation with your landlord.  Try to negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement between yourselves.

If a solution is reached, the arrangement must be agreed to in writing.

If you are unclear about the current rent relief measures available, or unsure whether you are eligible, contact your team of building dispute lawyers at PB Law.  Our team understands the current provisional regulations and can help you determine the best course of action.

We Can’t Reach an Agreement – Now What?

If you and your landlord are unable to reach a satisfactory agreement, it’s time to take further action.  There are mediation processes available to assist in reaching an agreement that is acceptable to both parties, but it needs the help of an expert.  The experience, knowledge and skill of a commercial lease dispute lawyer are invaluable, so contact the team at PB Law immediately.

Landlord Tax Relief

Landlords who are offering rent relief to their tenants under the current regulations may be eligible for Land Tax relief.  For more advice on this, talk to your building dispute lawyers at PB Law.

The team at PB Law understands the current economical hardship that many of our clients are facing, and as usual, we’re here to support them come what may!  Call us today on  (03) 9692 9888 and let us help you through this difficult time – your financial well-being is our priority.

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COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

Please be aware that due to the spread of Covid – 19 and on the recommendation of Government the decision has been made that from 5pm Wednesday 8 July 2020 to close the office once again to help slow the spread of the virus.

During this time our team will continue to operate remotely and can be contacted by email, on their mobile phones or through our website. All ongoing files will continued to be worked on and new work is always welcome.

We ask for people’s understanding in these uncertain times and hope everyone stays healthy.