Commercial Tenancy Law Specialist

Retail, Commercial & Industrial Leases & Lease Transfers – Specialist advice for Commercial Tenancy Law

Commercial Tenancy Law

At CKL Lawyers we act for Landlords (Lessors) & Tenants (Lessees) under Victorian State Law.

Our Accredited Commercial Tenancy Law Specialist can advise you on all aspects of Retail, Commercial & Industrial Tenancy Law.

Over many years, we have built up a strong base of commercial and private clients, both landlords and tenants, who have relied on our tenancy leasing advice for commercial premises, shops, restaurants, offices, factories, warehouses, industrial sites & farming leases.

commercial Tenancy Law

Look out for the new Retail Leases Amendment Act 2020

Leasing Law is now more complex than ever. The new Retail Leases Amendment Act 2020, which came into force on 1 October 2020, has significantly changed the landscape of commercial tenancy law.
It appears that the new Retail Leases Amendment Act gives commercial Tenants more rights. Commercial Landlords can seek our specialist tenancy advice about what this means for them, and how to navigate the new legislation from a Landlord’s perspective. In this new environment of commercial tenancy law, it is more important than ever to get the right advice before entering into any agreements.

Changes For Landlords & Tenants

There are many new requirements for Landlords and Tenants. Here are some of the most important changes:

  • Security Deposits: Security Deposits must be returned by the Landlord within 30 days of the end of the lease
  • Disclosure Statements: Landlords are required to provide a Disclosure Statement and a copy of the proposed Lease at least 14 days prior to the commencement of the lease.
  • Essential Safety Measures: Retail leases can now require a Tenant to pay or reimburse the Landlord in respect of Essential Safety Measures.
  • Renewal of a lease: The process for renewal of a lease has been drastically changed:
    • A Landlord’s notification (written notice) of a tenant’s right to exercise an option for a further lease is now not less than 3 months. 
    • The written notice must set out the proposed rental for the first 12 months of the renewed lease, and details of an early rent review process including cooling off options available to the tenant.
    • After the written notice, the tenant may request an early rent review of their commercial tenancy.
    • If a valuer is appointed to determine the rent, the tenant has a further 14 days to renew the lease.
    • If the tenant elects not to renew the lease , the lease is extended by three months after the tenant’s amended date to exercise the option.
    • If the tenant does not elect an early rent review and otherwise exercises an option to renew the lease, the tenant now has a 14 day cooling off period. This will result in the lease being extended by an additional 14 days.

Being strategic in this new environment of commercial tenancy law, is the key for either a Commercial Landlord or Commercial Tenant managing the tenancy to their best advantage and avoiding tenancy disputes. (link to lease disputes page)

Calling our Commercial Lease Law Specialist will get you on the right track from the outset.

Jack Cyngler

Accredited Specialist in Commercial Tenancy Law

Jack is one of only 12 Lawyers in all of Victoria to be accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) as a Specialist Lawyer in the area of Commercial Tenancy Law – Retail, Commercial & Industrial Leases.

Jack was first recognised as a specialist in Commercial Tenancy Law in 2001, and has maintained his authority in the area ever since. 

Jack is a member of the LIV’s Leases Committee, an industry body committee that makes submissions to the government in the field of Commercial Tenancy Law.

In the field of Retail, Commercial & Industrial Tenancy Law, Jack is truly one of the best tenancy Lawyers Melbourne has to offer.

    What Is An Accredited Specialist?
    • An Accredited Specialist is a lawyer recognised as having expertise in a particular area of law by the Law Institute of Victoria.
    • An Accredited Specialist must have at least five years’ full-time practice experience and at least three years’ experience in their area of specialisation;
    • An Accredited Specialist must maintain a high degree of professional development in their area of specialisation, which involves the continual development of their skills;
    • An Accredited Specialist must pass a comprehensive assessment testing technical knowledge, writing and practical interview or advocacy skills.
    • An Accredited Specialist is required to apply for re-accreditation every three years, ensuring the highest standards are maintained.
    Jack Cyngler - Accredited Specialsit In Commercial Tenancy Law

    How we can assist you in Commercial Lease Law?

    If you cannot find your leasing issue here, please do not hesitate to contact our Commercial Tenancy Law Specialist.
    We are experts in all areas of tenancy law.

    • Due diligence
    • Negotiations
    • Ongoing terms
    • Incentives
    • Agreed terms
    • Fit Out discussions
    • Representations at SBC & VCAT
    • Lease & Transfer Documentation
    • Shopping Centre Leases
    • Disclosure Statements
    • Preparing Agreements for Lease
    • Assignments and Transfers of leas
    • Subleases and licence agreements
    • Advice on leasing disputes
    • Small Business Commissioner Mediations
    • Representation at VCAT
    • Liquor and Gaming Licensing and neighbour objections

    Free Commercial Tenancy Law Checklists To Download

    Commercial Tenancy Law FAQs

    Q. Personal Property Security Register (PPSR): – How can I secure deferred rentals over my tenant?

    The PPSR allows a landlord to register an interest over a tenants’ personal assets to secure any rental deferment.  We can advise either the landlord or the tenant regarding their rights and obligations in this regard.

    Our trained Lawyers can undertake the registration of such interests on the Register on your behalf.

    Q. Are Commercial Landlords allowed to delay loan repayments

    An announcement has been made that Banks will allow commercial landlords with loans of up to $10 million to delay their loan repayments by up to six months, on the condition tenants are not evicted due to the coronavirus crisis. The banking industry has expanded its support package for business customers. Under the latest changes, businesses with loans of up to $10 million will be able to defer their repayments, up from a previous limit of $3 million.

    The law generally:

    Clients should be aware of issues that are emerging in the area of retail & commercial leases in the Coronavirus economic crisis:-

    • Abatement of Rent clauses
    • Force Majeure clauses
    • Frustration of leases
    • Government Protection measures
    • Business Interruption Insurance

    Abatement of rent clauses – refer s57 of RCA 2003 (VIC) and lease clauses

    Force majeure clauses – in leases if applicable

    Frustration of leases – in the absence of an applicable abatement of rent or force majeure clause, an emerging (or re-emerging) issue is whether a lease can be frustrated at common law if the tenant is unable to trade on account of mandatory closures. Whether, and if so when, a lease is frustrated is a difficult legal question.

    • This was considered by the High Court of Australia was in Firth v Halloran (1926) 38 CLR 261. The decision did not produce a clear majority on whether a lease is capable of being frustrated;
    • In the case of Tim Barr Pty Ltd v Narui Gold Coast Pty Ltd (2010) 14 BPR 27,605, the Judge in that case cited the four-question test of frustration approved by the High Court in Codelfa Construction Pty Ltd v State Rail Authority (NSW) (1982) 149 CLR 337. The four questions are:

    (1)    What was the substance of the contract, being the assumption or condition or state of things, which was necessary for the fulfillment of the contract?

    (2) Was that condition or state of things prevented?

    (3)    Was the event which prevented the performance of the contract of such a character that it cannot reasonably be said to have been in the contemplation of the parties?

    (4)  Was the change so unexpected that, if performed, the contract would be radically different from that which was contracted?

    The business closures announced suggest that, in the absence of statutory intervention, frustration of leases will rear its head in the near future, particularly if business closures are protracted.

    The current state of the law suggests that, in the absence of either a commercial resolution to a tenant being unable to pay rent or legislative intervention, some tenants may fall back on arguments about frustration of their leases in the face of the current crisis.

    Tenants should also check their insurance policies as to whether or not business interruption insurance may apply to see if these events are covered.

    How can our firm assist you to negotiate new lease terms under the new Code of Conduct and the new Retail Leases Amendment Act 2020?

    We can assist you with the following:

    1. Negotiations: Being a party to negotiations to ensure both landlord and tenant negotiate in good faith under the Code of Conduct.
    2. Financial Information:What turnover information is appropriate and not appropriate for a landlord to request from a tenant? Tenants should be aware what they must present to their landlord by way of documentation to maximize their rental reductions, waivers, and deferments under JobKeeper: AND Landlords should be aware what financial information they have the right to request and what is not appropriate turnover information for a Landlord to request from a tenant to help inform their offer of rent relief. Call us if you would like a list of financial information that details what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.
    3. Documentation: Parties will need to document all changes to the lease by a Variation of Lease prepared by a Solicitor. We are able to prepare this document on your behalf. These variations will affect the lease now and in the aftermath of the Pandemic.
      Further Reductions:Seeking on behalf of tenants to negotiate further reductions from the landlord if the landlord has been the beneficiary of a reduction in statutory charges, a reduction in insurance premiums, or a deferral of loan payments from a financial institution. Assisting landlords to understand what their obligations are in respect of the further reductions requested by tenants.
    4. Deferments of rent secured over tenants’ personal assets on the PPSR: Assisting parties in respect of the securing of a tenants’ personal assets in negotiations for rental reductions, waivers & deferments. Undertaking registrations on the PPSR.
    5. Mediation: If negotiations break down, we are able to represent you in any private mediation or Small Business Commissioner Mediation. We are also able to act as an independent Mediator.

    If you would like to ask further questions in relation to any of the above, or require our assistance, please contact our office to speak directly to Jack Cyngler, Accredited Specialist in Commercial Tenancy Law.

    Commercial Tenancy Law FAQs


    Q. What are the new changes to the Retail Leases Act 2020?

    There are many new rules and obligations set out in the Retail Leases Act 2020 that came into effect on 1 October 2020.

    We have given some detail in our website as to what these changes are, but as every leasing issue is different and your time is limited, we encourage you to call our Commercial Tenancy Law Specialist and have a confidential, no obligation, chat to see how we can assist.

    Q. What effect did The Retail Leases Act 2003 and the Retail Leases Amendment Act 2005 have on commercial tenancy law in Victoria?

    As a consequence of these new laws, many of the terms of a standard lease were changed, including the understanding of the meaning of:

    • Minimum 5-year lease rule (which includes option periods)
    • Landlord & tenant rights to terminate a lease
    • Obligations on landlords regarding structural repairs
    • Disclosure statement (updated 1 January 2011)
    • Injunctive relief and matters to be referred to mediation
    • Unconscionable conduct provisions
    • Many new provisions regarding failures to comply
    • Controls for security deposits
    • Requirements for land tax

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