With the end of the recent lockdown, we can report an increase in leasing activity, although with reduced rents levels and mostly in the lower end retail areas at present.

Inquiries for office leasing remain subdued and we expect this may remain so until the vaccine rollout has progressed. New Tenants of all types are requesting rent-free periods and COVID clauses within leases in case further lockdowns occur.

There has been an increase in commercial buyer inquiry particularly from owner-occupiers and boutique developers. Investors are seeking COVID-proof tenancies. The imminent end of JobKeeper and bank mortgage relief will be a litmus test for the market.

As per the Real Estate Institute of Victoria:

Following the extension of the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme until 28 March 2021, the Victorian Government has launched the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund Round 2. Grants of up to $3000 per tenancy are available to eligible small landlords who reduce commercial rent for their tenants under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme.

Full program guidelines and information on how to apply are available at Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund Round 2

Information on additional land tax relief for landlords can be found at State Revenue Office Land Tax Relief.

The Victorian Government offers other support for businesses, landlords, and tenants. Details are available at Business Victoria COVID-19 business information.

Ensure you check whether or not you are eligible for any assistance. Also check you have a depreciation report for each property or at least contact a Quantity Surveyor to ascertain whether you may benefit from obtaining one. Please contact me if we can be of any assistance with sales or leasing matters.

James Keep

Manager, Cayzer Commercial 0418 569 594