Retail commercial leasing can be a complex area. Here is Legally Yours’ guide to help you understand the key factors that may affect you and your business when you sign a retail lease.

What is a Retail Lease?

A retail lease is a type of commercial lease that relates to retail premises. Retail leases in Victoria are in most cases governed by the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic) (“the Act”).

Is my business covered by the Act?

If your business mainly sells or hires goods or services to the public, then your premises will likely be considered ‘retail premises’ under the Act.

Some examples of ‘retail premises’ are:

1. Cafes and bars
2. Clothes shops
3. Hairdressers
4. Beauty Salons
5. Architects

Some examples of businesses not caught by the Act:

1. If your business is primarily used for wholesaling, manufacturing or storage
2. If your cost of occupancy is more than $1m per year
3. If the term of the lease is less then one year (unless consecutively renewed)
4. You’re a listed corporation or a subsidiary of a listed corporation
5. Your business has been granted an exemption.

In all of these cases your premises are generally not considered ‘retail premises’ and therefore the Act will not apply to your business.

What should the landlord give me before I sign a Retail Lease?

The Act requires the landlord to give the tenant the following:

1. A copy of the proposed lease at least 7 days before you sign the lease
2. A copy of the Victorian Small Business Commissioner Information brochure on retail leases
3. A disclosure statement at lease 7 days before you sign the lease

Once you’ve signed the lease the landlord is required to provide you with a copy of the fully signed lease within 28 days.

If you’re thinking about signing a retail lease and would like a leasing expert to guide you through the process please contact Mira Stammers on 1300 822 708.

Mira Stammers is the CEO of Legally Yours. Mira has extensive experience in corporate law in both Melbourne and London and regularly advises business owners in the areas of corporate and real estate law. Mira has a team of expert lawyers experienced in all areas of law that provide fixed-fee legal advice to businesses across Australia. If you’re looking for an expert leasing lawyer, Mira can help. Email mira@legallyyours.com.au