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Retail & Commercial Leases


When it comes to commercial or retail leases, a lot of people don’t understand just how complex a commercial lease can be and how easily it can be fraught with potential problems. Unlike residential leases, commercial leases can have many far-reaching implications if not handled correctly.

In New South Wales, the Retail Leases Act 1994 has undergone some significant changes that impact on the negotiation and drafting of leases for retail businesses. Retail leases differ to commercial leases and are covered under a different set of laws. Whether you are the lessee or lessor of a retail property, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced solicitor/conveyancer to ensure that your rights and obligations are adequately protected during the course of the lease.

Things to consider when you are the landlord for a commercial lease:

  • Obtaining appropriate security on the lease. This may involve requesting a bank guarantee or cash deposit, which is usually to the value of three months rent.

  • Whether the lessor or lessee is responsible for the fit-out of the premises and determining who will own the fit-out at the end of the lease, as well as determining who is responsible for refurbishing the premises at the end of the lease.

  • As most commercial leases exceed three years (including options to renew) this means they need to be registered with the NSW Land Titles Office. In order to register, consent must be obtained from your mortgagee for the lease.

  • General landlord duties in terms of maintenance and access of common areas, lobbies, lifts, toilets, and related areas. Do any strata levies apply? What are the rules and guidelines for the building?


Our Sydney-based team can assist you with:

  • Drafting retail and commercial leases.

  • Review and advice on retail and commercial leases.

  • Negotiation of terms of retail and commercial leases.

  • Advice on lease dispute.

  • Mediation of lease dispute.

  • Legal representation at NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearings for lease disputes.

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