Legal Advice

What do the proposed changes to the Retail Leases Act (Vic) mean for landlords and tenants?

On the 30 October 2019, the Retail Leases Amendment Bill 2019 (The Bill) was introduced to the Victorian Parliament. If passed, the Bill outlines several proposed amendments to the current Retail Leases Act (Vic) that will significantly impact upon Landlords and prospective tenants.

In summary the Bill proposes:

  • To allow landlords to pass on the costs of Essential Safety Measures to tenants under a lease. While the landlord will retain their obligation to comply with building regulations, these charges may now be recoverable by a tenant if agreed in the lease.  This amendment will apply to already existing leases;
  • To extend the time frame for the landlord supplying a new tenant with a proposed lease and disclosure statement. At present the requirement is 7 days before the tenant enters a lease. The Bill proposes this timeframe be extended to 14 days;
  • That the landlord must return the security deposit to a tenant within a maximum 30 day time frame after the end of the lease, irrespective of whether the tenant has fulfilled all of their obligations under the lease;
  • That the tenant may, within 28 days of receipt of the landlord notice concerning their option to renew, request an early rental review;
  • That the tenant be given a 14-day cooling off period if the tenant has exercised an option and has not requested an early rent review. If the tenant gives the landlord written notice advising that they no longer wish to exercise the option, the option to renew lapses and the lease terms extend by 14 days;
  • That in a lease renewal, the landlord must give the tenant a disclosure statement that is either not more than 3 months old or that outlines out the changes from the information in the previous disclosure statement;
  • To reduce the notice period under which the landlord is required to give the tenant notice regarding their option. The Bill proposes to reduce the notice period from 6-12 months’ notice prior to the last date that the tenant can exercise the option, to 3-12 months prior.

We note that this bill is still being considered by Parliament and may be amended prior to being passed. If passed, it is expected to commence by 1 October 2020. Stayed tuned for updates from Gladwin Legal regarding this topic.

Gladwin Legal are experts in Retail Leases and can assist in ensuring that your current and future leases will comply with any of these amendments.  If you would like to know how we can help, please do not hesitate to contact us at rosalyn@gladwinlegal.com.au or give us a call on 1300 033 934 for a no-obligation quote.