Review of commercial tenancy laws for retail shops

Friday, 10 June 2022
  • Commercial tenancy laws covering retail shops now under review
  • Various emerging issues to be canvassed during consultation phase
  • Lease rights regarding rents, operating costs and duration of tenancy explored

The laws which govern commercial tenancy agreements between small retailers and landlords, including shopping centre owners, are being reviewed by the McGowan Government with the aim of improving the fairness and transparency of commercial lease arrangements.

A discussion paper has been released that looks at various issues which may require the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act to be updated. Consumer Protection will consult with retailers, industry groups and the public to identify emerging issues and look at options for change before final decisions are made.

Issues under consideration include but are not limited to: the statutory right to a five-year lease term, rent review rules, access to lease information, full disclosure of operating costs such as utility charges, early termination and end of lease rights, unconscionable or unfair conduct. The consultation paper also asks about any changes that may be required based on the impact of COVID-19.

Currently the laws only cover small shops operating in shopping centres or shops situated outside of shopping centres that mainly sell goods. The review will look at whether the Act should be expanded to protect other small businesses including those outside of a shopping centre that provide services such as travel, real estate or watch/bike repairs.

The Act provides for dispute resolution through the Small Business Commissioner and State Administrative Tribunal and feedback is being sought as to the effectiveness of this process.

The consultation paper can be viewed or downloaded via the Consumer Protection website where submissions can also be lodged before the closing date of Monday August 8, 2022.

Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Roger Cook:

"The McGowan Government introduced a temporary code of conduct, a rent rise freeze, eviction moratorium and financial support measures for retail tenants and landlords struggling with the impact of COVID-19 restrictions to help get them through these tough times.

"Now we are in recovery mode, the Government is looking to the future and learning from past experience to ensure that commercial tenancy laws in WA remain fit for purpose.

"It's vital for the WA economy that we have a strong and vibrant retail sector with fair and transparent tenancy agreements an important element. For this reason, I would urge industry participants and interested parties to take part in this public consultation.

"This review is the beginning of a process that aims to achieve the best laws possible to safeguard the viability of the industry for both retail tenants and landlords, now and in the future."

Minister's office - 6552 6500

Consumer Protection
Media release
10 Jun 2022

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