Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund 3 - now open

Applications are now open for the Victorian Government's Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund 3.  This program offers grants to small landlords who are waiving at least 50% to their tenants rent as part of the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme., and use the grant to offset the waived rent.  A rent waiver is where some (or all) of the rent owed for an agreed period of time is not required to be paid.

 

Eligible small landlords with total taxable landholdings under $3 million that waive rent for their tenants between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022 can apply for grants of up to $6,000 per tenancy.  Business owners who own their premises can apply for this grant, provided the property is held by a different legal entity to the business.

 

In cases of acute hardship, small landlords may be eligible for grants of up to $10,000 per tenancy.  Acute hardship is where the commercial rent received by the landlord represents at least 70% of their total gross annual income for the 2019-20 financial year.  The landlord must not be either the owner occupier or related to the tenant.  Also, landlords must have waived more than $6,000 in rent between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022.

 

Applications to this program opened on 13 September 2021 and will close on 15 January 2022 or until funds are exhausted (whichever is earlier).

 

We note that small landlords who received a grant under either (or both) of the previous Commercial Landlord Hardship Funds that operated between 21 August and 31 October 2020, or 1 January 2021 and 28 March 2021 can apply again for this program.  However, please note the eligibility criteria have changed under this program.


Before applying to this program

A rent waiver (or non-payment of rent) between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022 must be formally agreed by the landlord and the tenant.  Eligible small landlords must complete the following process under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme:


Eligibility criteria

Individuals and incorporated entities that meet the program eligibility criteria may apply for a grant.

 

To be eligible for the grant under this program ($6,000 per tenancy), landlords must:

  • be a small landlord with total taxable landholdings of less than $3 million, including part holdings but excluding principal place of residence, or where a property is held on trust, the total taxable landholdings of the trust must be less than $3 million;
  • be an owner and landlord of the property for which an application is made;
  • be a landlord that has made a rent relief agreement with their tenant(s) under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme in operation between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022; and
  • be an Australian citizen, resident or Australian incorporated entity.

 

To be eligible for acute hardship consideration ($10,000 grant per tenancy), small landlords must meet the eligibility criteria shown immediately above and also provide additional application evidence, including:

  • a full copy (of all pages) of one of the following documents to confirm the property location and land value, including a 2021 SRO Land Tax Assessment Notice for landholdings of $250,000 to $3 million, a 2021-22 Municipal Rates Notice for landholdings up to $250,000, or a 2021-22 Municipal Rates Notice for property purchased during 2021.
  • a copy of the lease agreement in place before the tenant's request for rent relief, showing the total dollar amount of monthly rent (excl. GST), tenant's contact details and Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • submit a landlord acceptance letter, showing details of the agreed rent relief, including the rent relief start and end dates, a total dollar amount of monthly rent (excl. GST) and percentage(s) of rent waived and rent deferred (if any).
  • provide proof of identity, including one of the following; a Driver Licence, Medicare Card, Australian Visa or Australian Passport.
  • submit a letter from a qualified agent (ie. accountant or tax agent) that includes confirmation that commercial rent represents at least 70% of their total gross annual income for the 2019-20 financial year, and the landlord is neither an owner occupier nor a related party of the tenant.

Landlords will be required to attest that:

  • the information provided in the application is true and correct;
  • they hold the written consent of the tenant(s) to provide business and contact details; and
  • commercial rent represents more than 50% of their total gross annual income for the 2019-20 financial year.

There is no proof of Victorian residency required to apply for this grant, however applicants must be an Australian citizen or resident.


Terms and use of funds

Grant funds must be used by the landlord to offset rent waived to their tenant(s) and funds will only be paid to Australian bank accounts.


How to apply

All questions in the application must be completed in full and any requested documentation attached to ensure timely assessment and grant payment.  Where required supporting documents are not supplied, the review process will be delayed.

 

Applications for this program will close at 11:59pm on 15 January 2022, or when funds are exhausted.

 

Applications can be made via the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions website, by clicking here.

 

The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions will endeavour to notify all landlords of the outcome of their submitted application within 30 business days of receiving a completed application.

 

We note that applicants may be subject to audit by the Victorian Government for a period of seven years after the grant has been approved.  Under audit, applicants will be required to show evidence of hardship, such as income tax assessments etc.  The grant will be repayable on demand if any application information is found to be false or misleading, or the grant is not used in accordance with the terms of funding set out in the guidelines for this program.

 

The Business Victoria website provides some frequently asked questions and a few examples in relation to this program on their website (click here).


Please do not hesitate to contact your Lowe Lippmann Relationship Partner if you wish to discuss any of these matters further.