Commercial tenancy - Access in the retail tenancy market

Status: Reports updated 23 October 2014

The information imbalance that often exists between landlords and tenants in lease negotiations is a common issue raised by retail tenants and tenant organisations. This issue has been the subject of consideration at both the national level by the Productivity Commission and at the State level by a Review Committee.

During the course of the various reviews and consultations, industry participants have made a number of suggestions to redress this information asymmetry.

The Department has considered whether changes are required to improve access to lease information about retail shops under the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 (WA).

The Consultation RIS paper was released in July 2011 and outlined four options: 

  • extend valuers’ access to lease information;
  • establish a public lease register;
  • compulsory registration of leases on land title; and
  • status quo.

Thirty responses were received from various sections of the industry and government.  Analysis of the submissions indicated that opinion on the issue is divided, with no clear preference for a particular option for reform.

A key concern raised by a number of stakeholders was that increased access to lease information may not significantly improve the bargaining power of tenants, thus resulting in lower rentals, and therefore the costs of implementing any reforms would likely outweigh any benefits arising from the changes. 

The Decision RIS recommended the government support maintaining the status quo. This recommendation has been endorsed by the Government.

Previous papers

Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement - Options for improving access to lease information in the retail tenancy market in Western Australia - July 2011

A previous consultation process conducted in 2010 titled Review of the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreement Act 2003 (Review Committee Report). 

Productivity Commission 2008, The Market for Retail Tenancy Leases in Australia, Inquiry Report no 43, Canberra (Productivity Commission Report).

Lease Register Position Paper September 2010

Other relevant information 

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