Signing my retail lease

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How do I do it and what does it mean?

Before you sign, read right through the lease and disclosure statement and make sure there are no surprises. You need to make sure that every important promise has been written down in the document. Once you have both signed the lease, it is usually binding on both you and your landlord.

Most State/Territory retail tenancy legislation has special procedures that the landlord has to follow before the lease is signed. Check your retail tenancy legislation.

Your State/Territory retail lease legislation is concerned about how you and your landlord behave, especially before the lease is signed. Your retail lease legislation lists the kind of behaviour that is illegal. For

example, you are both expected to be honest, not use threats and provide information that is up to date.

Most States/Territories have fair trading legislation which is designed to protect consumers from unfair conduct. The Federal Competition and Consumer Act 2010 can also offer some protection to tenants.

A lease is the beginning of a relationship. If it is difficult to negotiate with the landlord at the start of the discussions, listen to your alarm bells. It may be a clue as to how difficult it is going to be to negotiate with them during the lease. If you are concerned about the landlord’s conduct during negotiations, talk to your local retail tenancy office, small or retail business association, fair trading office or your solicitor, before you sign the lease.

Don’t forget to talk to other tenants.

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Talk to a professional or an association before you sign the lease.

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Once you are in a lease, it is hard to get out of it and it could cost you a lot of money.

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Once more before you sign the lease

  • Make sure the promises that have been made appear in the document.
  • Inspect the property and take notes and photographs. You don’t want to argue about the condition five years from now.
  • Talk to other tenants – see how they get along with the landlord.
  • Ask for audited statements about outgoings such as gardening.
  • Make sure you know who is going to keep the bond and where. You might ask who gets the interest. Get it in writing.