Client Update: Changes reducing onus on Victorian landlords
14 September 2012
In brief: Legislation repealing the requirement for landlords to notify the Small Business Commissioner of certain details when a lease is signed or renewed, and to clarify that certain references to 'landlord' and 'tenant' extend to prospective landlords, or persons acting on behalf of a landlord or prospective landlord and prospective tenants, has been introduced in Victoria. Partner Tony Davies (view CV) and Senior Associate Amy Hoban report.
- Proposed repeal of landlord's obligation to notify SBC
- Proposed amendments to clarify references to 'landlord' and 'tenant'
- What does this mean for you?
On 11 September 2012, the Retail Leases Amendment Bill 2012 (Vic) was introduced into Parliament. The Bill's main purpose is to repeal section 25 of the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic), which currently requires landlords to notify the Small Business Commissioner, within 14 days after a lease is signed by all parties or is renewed, of details of the retail premises, the landlord's name and address, the tenant's name and address and the date when the lease was signed or renewed. The Bill also repeals s84(1)(g) and (1A), which sets out the requirement for the Small Business Commissioner to maintain a register of the information provided under s25 and to only utilise this register in order to fulfil his or her functions under the Act.
The Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business explained that s25, which was originally intended to provide the Small Business Commissioner with the capacity to contact landlords and tenants, no longer serves any significant purpose, with much of the information in the register being incomplete and inaccurate. The repeal of s25 is intended to cut business costs and red tape, and is estimated to save Victorian retail landlords approximately $700,000 per annum in compliance costs.
Also proposed are amendments to ss 15, 17 and 23, to make it clear that the obligations on landlords under these sections:
- to provide a copy of the proposed lease as soon as negotiations about a lease are entered into;
- to provide a disclosure statement before entering into a lease; and
- not to accept key money,
also extend to prospective landlords and persons acting on behalf of a landlord or prospective landlord.
The proposed amendments to s17 also provide for a 'tenant' to include a prospective tenant.
Debate on the Bill has been adjourned until Wednesday, 26 September 2012. If the Bill is passed, it will commence on the day after the Act receives Royal Assent, and will remove the need for landlords to notify the Small Business Commissioner when a lease is signed or renewed.
- Tony DaviesPartner,
Ph: +61 7 3334 3250
- Paul NewmanPartner,
Ph: +61 7 3334 3514
- John BeckinsalePartner,
Ph: +61 7 3334 3520
- Mark StubbingsPartner, Sector Leader - Real Estate,
Ph: +61 2 9230 4257
- Nicholas CowiePartner,
Ph: +61 2 9230 4025
- Victoria HolthousePartner,
Ph: +61 2 9230 4303
- Michael GravesPartner,
Ph: +61 3 9613 8814
- David McLeishPartner,
Ph: +61 3 9613 8954
- Chris SchulzPartner,
Ph: +61 3 9613 8772