What legal protection do tenants have under a retail lease?

Many businesses rent commercial space in order to conduct their business from a physical location. Often this takes the form of an agreement between the landlord (i.e. a commercial lease).

However, if the premises is covered by the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994, a specific type of commercial lease is required. A retail shop lease must provide additional legal protection to the tenant.

While it is always prudent to obtain independent legal advice from an experienced property lawyer, this article will outline some of the features of a retail shop lease in Queensland. 

A retail shop lease generally applies to organisations that are based in a retail shopping centre or wholly or predominantly used for one or more retail business purposes. The Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 outlines the specific criteria for these agreements.

However, there are some exceptions. For example, the Act does not apply to:

  • Shops exceeding 1,000 square metres of space.
  • Businesses that are in an amusement park, flea market, trade show or carnival.
  • Service stations (in some circumstances).
  • Leases for a term of shorter than six months.

One of the key benefits of a retail shop lease is that the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a disclosure document and draft lease containing pertinent details of the lease at least seven days before an arrangement is entered into.

If the disclosure statement is deemed defective or not provided, the tenant may be able to end the lease by giving written notice within the first six months of signing the lease. 

For more information on retail leases, please speak to a commercial lawyer.