Retail tenants & landlords

The VSBC is the first port of call for dispute resolution services between retail tenants and landlords.

Our approach is simple: to inform and assist you to resolve disputes so that you can get on with running your business. We aim to encourage a continuing and long-lasting commercial and business relationship between the tenant and landlord.

We can help you understand your rights and obligations under the Retail Leases Act 2003  and provide information and assistance to resolve disputes.

What we do

The VSBC receives more than 1000 applications for retail leasing disputes each year, and we are able to find a resolution for more than 80% of these matters.

All disputes arising under the Retail Leases Act 2003 must be brought to the VSBC before they can be accepted by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). There are a few exceptions, and these include disputes that  relate solely to the payment of rent or applications for injunctions (where one party requires the other party to do something or refrain from doing something.

Disputes between landlords and tenants in non-retail premises (e.g. warehouses) may also be brought to the VSBC for attempted dispute resolution, under the Small Business Commissioner Act 2003.

How we help

The Retail Leases Act 2003 is a complex piece of legislation, and it’s important that you understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant or landlord.

However, there are times when a dispute arises, and this is when the VSBC can help by offering quick, effective and low cost dispute resolution services. We can also provide assistance and information over the phone.

Mediation with the VSBC for disputes under the Retail Leases Act 2003 is $195 per party per half day session. There is no cost for preliminary assistance that occurs over the phone or on email.

If you’re unsure and want to discuss your dispute with a VSBC staff member, get in touch.

Legislation

Retail Leases Act 2003

The VSBC has a number of responsibilities under the Retail Leases Act 2003. Together with the legislation, there are also Retail Leases Regulations and Ministerial Determinations that complement the Act.

As well as dispute resolution and mediation services, one of the VSBC’s main functions is to provide landlords, tenants and other relevant parties with information about the operation of the Act, including:

  • Information Brochure and Disclosure Statement. A landlord must give a copy of the VSBC’s Information Brochure and a copy of the Disclosure Statement, along with a copy of the lease to a tenant when lease negotiation begins.
  • Five-year Waiver Certificate. If requested by a tenant, the VSBC can issue a Five-year Waiver Certificate that certifies that a tenant has waived the right to an initial lease term (including options) of less than five years.
  • Appointing a Specialist Retail Valuer. The VSBC can appoint a Specialist Retail Valuer to determine the amount of rent to be paid under a lease if the landlord and tenant cannot agree.

More than 60% of the applications handled by the VSBC refer to disputes regarding retail leases under the Retail Leases Act 2003. Some of the common types of disputes we can help with include the following:

The Retail Leases Act 2003 outlines responsibilities on these matters. However, if you are unsure about your responsibilities, contact us. Our staff can either help you with your query or point you in the right direction.

While the VSBC’s main reference point is the Retail Leases Act 2003, we also refer to the following related legislation:

If you have queries about any aspects of retail leasing legislation, Contact Us.

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