The Victorian Small Business Commissioner (VSBC) has released a new information brochure for retail leases.

Reminder:

  • Landlords are required to provide a draft lease and a copy of the Small Business Commission’s Information Brochure as soon as the landlord enters into negotiations with a prospective tenant (section 15 Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic)).
  • At least 7 days before entering into a retail lease, the landlord must give the tenant a disclosure statement in the prescribed forma and a copy of the proposed lease in writing (section 17(1) Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic)).
  • Tenants that have not been provided with the disclosure statement prior to entering the lease, may give the landlord written notice that it has not been provided with the lease within 90 days of entering into the lease (section 17(2) Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic)).
  • Tenants who have not been provided with a disclosure statement despite giving notice to the landlord are not liable to pay rent for the period prior to receiving the disclosure statement and may give the landlord written notice to terminate the lease within 7 days of receiving the disclosure statement (section 17(3) Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic)).
  • If any information in the disclosure statement is false, misleading or materially incomplete, the tenant may terminate the lease by written notice (section 17(5) Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic)).

The new information brochure is a timely reminder to landlords and agents to comply with the obligations imposed on landlords by the Retail Leases Act (the Act).

The information brochure, which previously read as an informative explanation of the application of the Act and each parties’ obligations under the legislation, has been replaced by a simplified checklist directing tenants on their rights and the landlord’s obligations under the Act.

The VSBC has put landlords and agents on notice that failing to provide the information brochure can lead to fines of up to $8,000.[1]

Don’t forget:

  • Download the most recent version of the information brochure.
  • Landlords and agents should provide a draft lease and information brochure to any prospective tenant.
  • Landlords and agents should ensure that they are otherwise complying with the landlord’s obligations under the Act.
  • If Landlords are unsure as to whether or not the lease is retail or their obligations under the Act, they should seek specialist legal advice

 

[1] https://www.vsbc.vic.gov.au/news-publication/vsbc-voices-concerns-about-behaviour-of-some-retail-estate-agents-when-dealing-with-retail-leases/