Many commercial tenants who have experienced a downturn in their business due to the COVID-19 outbreak have gone through the process of requesting and securing rent relief from their landlords for the relevant period under the emergency measures legislation (being 29 March 2020 to 29 September 2020). Unfortunately, following the false start which preceded the latest lockdown, many commercial tenants are now finding that the agreement they secured with their landlord is insufficient to meet their needs because their circumstances have changed or deteriorated further.
Fortunately regulation 11(1) under the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020 (Vic) provides that (paraphrased):
- if the financial circumstances of a tenant materially change after a reduction has been agreed then the tenant may make a further request of the landlord for rent relief; and
- the landlord and the tenant must follow the process (again) set out in regulations in relation to that (new) request.
This regulation provides an interesting avenue for commercial tenants to seek further relief if their circumstances have deteriorated further as a result of the latest lockdown.
If you would like assistance in understanding your rights and obligations as a commercial tenant (or landlord), please contact us for practical, on-point commercial guidance.