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Commercial leases

Commercial leases are leases which allow businesses to occupy a commercial property whilst paying rent to a landlord. Commercial leases are useful for businesses that need a space to operate out of. Leasing, buying or selling a property for your business can seem like a daunting task. Commercial leases, whilst sharing many of the features of residential leases, require particular processes to be followed. Commercial leases also involve different tax obligations.

Commercial leases cover retail spaces such as shops and factories, in addition to corporate spaces such as offices and corporate buildings. It’s important that any commercial property transactions undertaken are reviewed by a lawyer, particularly for businesses looking to lease a commercial space.

Retail leases

Retail leases are leases which cover commercial spaces operating in retail, predominantly shops. Retail leases are different to commercial leases as they have more protections under the law. In most Australian state jurisdictions, retail leases have to be for a minimum term of 5 years, however this requirement no longer exists in NSW.


Laws relating to commercial leases are based on common law principle. However, the conveyancing and property acts of each state also contain provisions relating to commercial leases.

Retail leases fall under state legislation as follows:

  • Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW)
  • Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic)
  • Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (QLD)
  • Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 (WA)
  • Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 (SA)
  • Leases (Commercial and Retail) Act 2001 (ACT)
  • Business Tenancies (Fair Dealing) Act 2004 (NT)

What Is A Commercial Lease Lawyer?

Commercial lease lawyers (or property lawyers) are highly experienced commercial property lawyers that can assist landlords and tenants with commercial leases. Lawyers specialising in commercial leases will advise and guide you through the process of preparing and negotiating a lease agreement, and will work closely with you until the lease is assigned or transferred.

Generally, commercial lease lawyers are experts at interpreting the laws that affect the negotiation and drafting of leases. It is prudent to contact a commercial lease lawyers who can advise you of your rights and obligations, and ensure you are protected throughout the course of the lease. These lawyers have an extensive knowledge of numerous complex laws associated with lease transactions. Some examples of the services commercial lease lawyers offer are:

  • Advising on new leases
  • Drafting and reviewing commercial leases (including retail leases)
  • Negotiating terms of the lease (for example, duration and rent)
  • Information about exercising an option for renewing a lease
  • Insurance advice
  • Assisting with breaches of commercial lease agreements

Why Do I Need A Commercial Lease Lawyer?

As qualified professionals, commercial lease lawyers are a necessary and important point of contact. It is prudent to consult a commercial lease lawyer before you enter into a lease, in order to avoid issues that can have a negative impact on you and/or your business. When entering into a lease, there are many considerations lessors and lessees must acknowledge before committing themselves to a lease. Commercial lease lawyers will make sure you understand your rights and obligations, as well as the lease terms and conditions. If you disagree with any of the terms, these lawyers will negotiate until a positive outcome is achieved. Also, before you sign an agreement, you will be informed of the conditions. Commercial lease lawyers will actively ensure the lease fits the requirements of your business.

What Will A Commercial Lease Lawyer Provide?

Commercial lease lawyers will provide effective solutions for landlords and tenants that are specifically catered to their situation. While keeping their clients’ best interests in mind, these professional lawyers will instruct and guide them from the beginning to the end of a lease transaction.

How Much Will A Commercial Lease Lawyer Charge?

Commercial lease lawyers, and lawyers in general, charge either a fixed amount or an hourly rate. Also, fees may be calculated based on the solicitor’s expertise, seniority, location and whether the work is urgent.

We work with property lawyers in our lawyer network who specialise in commercial leases and can provide assistance on a fixed-price basis. We make sure the price is transparent and affordable. There are no hidden costs and you have the option of choosing who you want to be your lawyer.

Hourly rates and Court fees

The cost of a Commercial Lease Lawyer will vary based on the scope of the work. Small issues likely to be addressed quickly will cost less. For matters that will need to go to the relevant Court or Tribunal, there may be additional fees involved, particularly as this work takes time. These types of matters may also involve obtaining documents and negotiating with the other party.

What can a Commercial Lease Lawyer legally charge?

Legal costs can rise very quickly, especially in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis with a time period within which you are required to make payment. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014. Lawyers who do not comply with these rules can face disciplinary action from the law society of their State.

Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.

What if I don’t agree with the costs?

You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.

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