Five-year waiver certificates

Many leases are signed for a period of five years, with further options to renew. Others are signed for shorter terms, also with further options to renew.

Tenants have the right to a five-year term but are able to waive this right and sign a lease for a shorter time period. Tenants whose lease terms add up to at least five years do not need to apply for a waiver certificate. A three-year lease with an option of a further two-year term, for example, will not require a waiver certificate.

To waive the right to a five-year term, tenants must apply to the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) for a five-year waiver certificate.

To apply please complete the five-year waiver certificate online application form below.

Reasons to apply for a five-year waiver certificate

The most common reason why a tenant will apply for a five-year waiver certificate is because they are starting a new business.

The tenant may be unsure about:

  • the long-term suitability of the premises
  • whether their business will succeed
  • if their business will outgrow the premises over the term of the lease

In these cases, tenants may seek a lease term of less than five years; for example, a two-year lease. In other cases, the landlord may not be able to offer a five-year lease; for example, if the building is to be demolished or redeveloped. The landlord may therefore request the tenant seeks a five-year waiver certificate before commencing negotiations.

VCAT rulings

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has handed down the following decisions about overholding and entitlement to a five-year term:

Other decisions can be found on the Australian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website.

Applying for a certificate

Please use the below form to apply to the VSBC for a five-year waiver certificate. After completing the form, the certificate will be automatically issued at no cost and sent to the tenant’s email address.

Online form

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