The Victorian government has followed NSW and Queensland in announcing $420 million worth of land tax discounts for commercial and residential landlords who provide rent relief to their tenants.
Commercial landlords who provide their tenants with rent relief will be eligible for a 25 per cent discount on land tax, while any remaining land tax owed will be able to be deferred until March 2021.
The discounts are intended to be legislated next Thursday, April 23, as part of a package which also introduces a temporary ban on evictions and pauses rental increases for six months.
The government also announced an $80 million rental assistance fund for residential renters facing hardship due of coronavirus.
Other changes that will be legislated during this emergency session of parliament will be a six-month ban on evictions for the non-payment of rent for commercial tenancies involving small and medium-sized businesses and a ban on rental increases for the same period.
The government will also legislate rent waivers and deferrals for businesses earning less than $50 million and with a 30 per cent or more reduction in turnover, as outlined under the commercial tenancy code of conduct announced last week by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said tenants and landlords who were unable to reach an independent deal over rent reductions would be given access to a “fast-tracked” dispute resolution service overseen by the Victorian Small Business Commission.
“More than ever, we need to be working in partnership – landlords working with tenants, tenants working with landlords, and government willing to help those most in need,” he said.
The Shopping Centre Council of Australia today welcomed the announcement.
“We welcome Premier Andrews’ announcement which is another strong step that reinforces the framework which will deliver relief to small, medium and family retailers who are doing it tough,” Shopping Centre Council Executive Director Angus Nardi said.
“We also commend the government on their commitment to a partnership approach to help ensure that all businesses can get to the other side of this crisis.”
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