The $500 million package, announced by Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews today, will also see the state government legislate that small and medium-sized businesses can be granted rental waivers or deferrals, giving effect to the mandatory code of conduct announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The package will also include $420 million in land tax relief for landlords who provide rent relief to tenants.
Victoria’s move comes after New South Wales announced a $440 million land tax relief package to be evenly divided between the commercial and retail sectors.
In Victoria, both commercial and residential landlords who provide rent discounts will be eligible for a 25 per cent discount on their land tax, while any remaining land tax can be deferred until March 2021.
A new Coronavirus Relief Deputy Commissioner will be established at the State Revenue Office to manage these land tax relief claims.
According to Mr Andrews, tenants and landlords who struggle to strike a deal over rent reductions will be given access to a fast-tracked dispute resolution service, with Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Victorian Small Business Commission mediating to ensure fair agreements are reached.
“More than ever, we need to be working in partnership. Landlords working with tenants. Tenants working with landlords,” Mr Andrews said.
The state government will also create an $80 million rental assistance fund for renters facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus.
To be eligible, renters will need to have registered their revised agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria or gone through mediation, have less than $5,000 in savings and still be paying at least 30 per cent of their income in rent.
Further, evictions for the non-payment of rent will be banned for both residential and commercial tenancies for six months.
Rental increases will also be banned for commercial and residential properties for the same period.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.