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Who we help

Retail tenants and landlords

The Retail Leases Act 2003

As a commercial tenant or landlord, it’s important to understand your rights and obligations under the Retail Leases Act 2003 (the Act).

Under the Act, the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) provides tenants and landlords with dispute resolution services, including free preliminary assistance and low-cost mediation, and information about the operation of the Act.

Retail leasing information and guidance

Our website provides information and guidance on the following:

  • Entering into a retail lease – including information about the Act and Retail Leases Regulations 2023, what tenants should be aware of before entering into a retail lease and which premises are not covered by the Act
  • Repairs and maintenance ­rights and responsibilities – including tenants notifying their landlord about loss or damage to the retail premises they’re leasing, landlords repairing the damage and tenants receiving compensation
  • Ending a lease early – including what a tenant should do if they want to end their lease early, what they need to do at the end of their lease and what could prevent them from getting the security deposit back
  • Disclosure statements – including access to the new disclosure statements that were made available in December 2022 and the required timings for landlords to provide their tenants with a disclosure statement
  • Rent review disputes ­– including questions to ask when considering a specialist retail valuer (SRV), requesting the appointment of an SRV, disagreeing with a determination and rent increases after the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme has ended
  • Outgoings – including the information that a landlord must provide to their tenant about outgoings
  • Options and renewals – including a landlord’s obligation to renew a lease, options to renew, notices, timings and requesting an early rent review
  • Essential safety measures and who should pay for them – including smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, fire exit signs and annual safety inspections
  • Bonds (security deposits) – including negotiating a security deposit and returning the security deposit and any interest earned to the tenant after the lease ends
  • Five-year waiver certificates – including reasons to apply for a five-year waiver certificate and how to apply
  • Paying key money – including the risk to landlords who seek or accept these payments, key money scenarios and the types of payments that landlords can request
  • Transfer of a retail leases premises – including how a tenant requests consent from their landlord, reasons a landlord can withhold consent and the sale and continuation of an existing business
  • FAQs on topics such as what the 2020 changes to retail leasing mean for tenants and landlords, what happens at the end of a lease and what a tenant can do if they receive a notice of default from their landlord

Applying for help to resolve a retail leasing dispute

To apply for our impartial help to resolve a retail leasing dispute between a commercial tenant and landlord, visit our help portal. Before applying, please read our dispute resolution process.

More information

For more information, you can speak with a member of our team by calling 1800 878 964 or emailing us.


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