property and leasing disputes relate to interpretation of and non
performance of contracts and leases. Property disputes may include:
- Failure to complete contracts
- Disputes between owners of properties including tenants in
- common or joint tenants or joint
venturers about valuations,
- or selling, developing or holding
- Disputes about interpretation of contracts
Commercial leases are primarily governed by The Lease, The
Property Law Act and The Transfer of Land Act. The Retail Leases Act
2003 governs most Retail Premises Leases. Retail Premises primarily
include premises which are used wholly or predominantly for the sale
or hire of goods by retail or the retail provision of services.
However premises where occupancy costs exceed $1 million or where
the tenant is a listed corporation or the premises are prescribed
are not included. The minister has made the following determination
regarding retail premises defining those premises that are NOT
“Premises that are located entirely within a building which, under
the terms of the lease relating to the premises, or part of the
premises, are used, or are to be used, wholly or predominantly for
the retail provision of services, other than premises located
entirely on any one or more of the first three storeys in a
building, excluding any basement levels.”
Accordingly, an accountancy firm which only occupies the 5th level
of an office building will not be covered by the Retail Leases Act.
See the attached OSBC Revised Guidelines on Retail Premises.
The most common lease disputes relate to:
- Non Payment of rent and outgoings,
- Repairs and maintenance and loss suffered as a result of
- damaged premises
- Interpretation of Outgoings
- Rent reviews
- Exercise of lease options
- Assignments of leases
- Conduct of shopping Centres
- Disclosure Statements and misrepresentation.
- Notices of Default and Termination of Leases
- Make good at the end of a lease.
However underlying these symptoms are business and financial
drivers. Mediation is good at uncovering these underlying causes so
that positive solutions can be developed. For Retail Lease Premises
all disputes except for the recovery of rent and claims for
injunctive relief must first go through a mediation conducted
through the Office of the Small Business Commissioner (OSBC). See
the link to the OSBC
http://www.sbc.vic.gov.au/ Attached is a Dispute Application
Referral Form Mediation at the OSBC has a very high rate of success.
The advantages of mediating Retail Premises Leases are:
- It is quick – usually a mediation can be organized within
- weeks or a few months
- It is cheap – Each party only has to pay $195.
- Legal representation is not necessary (However it is wise to
- seek some legal guidance or advice
and legal representation
- in more complicated matters.)
- It is business oriented and helps improve business
The Law Institute of Victoria through its Property Law Dispute
Resolution Committee offers a cheap Dispute Resolution alternative
for minor Property Law matters. It applies where lawyers
representing the parties send in writing to the Law Institute an
agreed statement of facts with questions to be answered. Written
advice is received. Neither the parties or their lawyers attend in
Michael has mediated 100s of Retail Lease disputes as a member of
the Office of the Small Business Commissioner’s Mediation panel.
(Also see the comments made in the above categories.)
Where to now?
Speak to a mediation expert
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It gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have and for a
member of our team to gain background and provide you an insight
into the issues that you are facing.
For more information please call us on +61 3 9947 4541 or send us an
firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help you resolve
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