Are you the lessor of a retail shop or commercial premises?  You should have a trusted legal representative to give you advice, assistance and if necessary representation in relation to the negotiation, drafting and enforcing of the terms and conditions of your lease.

Similarly, if you are a lessee (tenant) of a retail shop or commercial premises, you should have a legal representative to give you advice about your rights and duties under the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 (“the Act”).

What is a lease?

A lease is a detailed document setting out the relationship between the landlord, usually referred to as a lessor, and the tenant, usually referred to as a lessee.

A lease will contain key information such as the amount of rent and the length of the term and any options to renew that term.  The lease document will also contain clauses that deal with other events such as default by the tenant, installing and removing the fit out, who pays what in terms of outgoings or expenses associated with the premises, increases to rent and outgoings and things of that nature.

Lessors’ rights

Landlords have rights, so long as you make sure your leases are in accordance with the Retail and Commercial Leases Act and you act in accordance with the Act.

In fact, given we are talking about commercial situations, a landlord of retail shop lease has much more in the way of rights than a landlord of a residential tenancy.

Lessees’ rights

The fact that the property will be subject to the Act is important because the Act gives tenants many rights, principally a right of tenure whereby the tenant is guaranteed if they want a minimum term of five (5) years.

The lessor is obliged to provide to the lessee a disclosure statement before the lessee enters into the lease.  The disclosure statement is a formal written document setting out prescribed information such as the permitted use of the shop or premises, the lettable area, access arrangements, the basis of calculation of the rent and outgoings along with other items of very detailed and important information regarding the tenant’s obligations under the lease.

The complexities of the continually amended Act make it particularly important to seek legal advice prior to drafting a lease document to ensure that it complies with the Act and signing the document to make sure that you understand your legal and contractual obligations.

How we can help

We have acted for many landlords and tenants over the years.

We can prepare a lease for you if you are a landlord or give you advice regarding the terms of a draft lease if you are a tenant.  We can assist you in the enforcement of your rights if you are either a landlord or a tenant.

We can help you with:

  • Negotiating and drafting lease agreements (for example, agreements to lease and Memoranda of Lease) and related documentation (for example, disclosure statements, guarantees of lease)
  • Registering Leases in the Lands Titles Office
  • Assigning, varying or surrendering your lease
  • Enforcing the terms and conditions of your lease
  • Negotiating or litigating any disputes you may have with your landlord or tenant

If you are uncertain about your situation in any way, and need advice, or indeed representation if you are in dispute with the other party, we urge you to give us a call on 8354 2233.


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