A summary of the 2019 developments is as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. July update: A quarry can be a retail lease.
  8. August update: Outgoings cannot be recovered from a tenant if an estimate is not provided under section 46 of the Act: Phillips v Abel.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

About the Author

Rohan Ingleton

A telecommunications and retail leasing expert, Rohan is a property specialist with an enviable reputation.

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