A summary of the 2019 developments is as follows:
- January update: A landlord will be liable for air-conditioning if the lease specifies that air-conditioning is included in the premises. This means that a valuer will determine a rent based on premises being air-conditioned: Meadsview Pty Ltd v Fenton.
- February update: If customers cannot attend premises to collect goods, it may not be considered retail. Therefore online businesses may not be retail but be aware that this could change: Bulk Powders Pty Ltd v Seicon Pty Ltd.
- March update: There is no right to sublet under the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic) as this right will need to be specifically dealt with in the lease.
- April update: A lease will be retail as adjudged by the law and it does not matter what the parties may state in the lease as to whether it is retail or not.
- May update: You must be careful as to what is included as a landlord installation in a lease as landlords can be liable for repair and maintenance of such items under section 52 (2) of the Act.
- June update: A tenant has a right to get back into leased premises, even in if in default, by seeking what is known as relief against forfeiture from VCAT.
- July update: A quarry can be a retail lease.
- August update: Outgoings cannot be recovered from a tenant if an estimate is not provided under section 46 of the Act: Phillips v Abel.
- September update: Even if an estimate of outgoings is given late, a landlord cannot recover the outgoings: Verraty Ptyt Ltd v Richmond Football Club Ltd.
- November update: Leases of farms will be excluded from the Act due to a determination made by the Minister as at 29 October 2019.
Upcoming will be a more detailed review of Verraty v Richmond Football Club Ltd decision, which was appealed to the Supreme Court and it is now clear that a lease cannot be subject to the Act if it was not subject to the Act when the lease was entered into.
There is also a new bill to amend the Act, which is due to come into operation late next year.
A link to the above updates is included for ease or reference.
Have a Merry Christmas and see you all next year!