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Commercial Real Estate

Leasing, buying or selling a property for your business can seem like a daunting task. Commercial real estate, whilst sharing many of the features of residential real estate, also requires particular processes to be followed. Commercial real estate also involves different tax obligations.

Commercial properties include retail spaces such as shops and factories, in addition to corporate spaces such as offices and corporate buildings. These types of transactions also involve many stakeholders including the business itself, the local Council, the developers of the property and investors. It’s important that any commercial property transactions undertaken are reviewed by a lawyer, particularly for businesses looking for a commercial space.


Commercial property transactions are governed by state-based legislation. In New South Wales, this is the Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW), which concerns mainly retail leases. In Queensland, retail leases come under the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (QLD). In Victoria, this is the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic). Other Australian states and territories have equivalent legislation.

Corporate commercial property is generally governed by common law and not legislation. However, state-based property legislation such as the Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) and the Real Property Act 1900 (NSW) also have provisions which are applicable to commercial property.

What Is A Commercial Real Estate Lawyer?

Commercial real estate lawyers (or property lawyers) assist individuals with all stages of property transactions associated with leasing, buying or selling commercial real estate. Commercial real estate lawyers are professionals who are highly experienced in dealing with many conveyancing transactions, which is how they know what exactly needs to be done in your situation.

Commercial Real Estate lawyers offer the following services:

  • Drafting and reviewing contracts
  • Execution of contracts and settlement
  • Advice about easements
  • Advice about building contracts and auction contracts
  • Information about cooling off periods and deposits
  • Assistance with obtaining a lease for commercial property
  • Cost appraisal including stamp duty
  • Advice about investing in commercial property

Why Do I Need A Commercial Real Estate Lawyer?

Commercial real estate lawyers should be the first point of contact for both buyers and sellers. Expert commercial real estate lawyers can identify common risks involved with conveyancing and can take proactive steps to prevent them from affecting your transaction. Commercial real estate lawyers have expert knowledge of complex property, conveyancing and real estate contract laws. If you are a buyer or seller who requires help with reading, interpreting and preparing contracts or general legal advice, it is recommended you consult specialist commercial real estate lawyers.

What Will A Commercial Real Estate Lawyer Provide?

Commercial and real estate lawyers will instruct and guide renters, buyers and sellers throughout the transaction process. Expert commercial real estate lawyers will advise you on the next step and will help guide you throughout the process. Commercial real estate lawyers have a solid understanding of the common law rules which govern commercial property, as well as the Acts which apply to retail property. Further, they understand the different obligations which apply to properties which are being used for a commercial purpose.

How Much Will A Commercial Real Estate Lawyer Charge?

Usually, commercial real estate lawyers, and lawyers in general, charge either a fixed amount or an hourly rate. Also, fees are calculated based on the solicitor’s expertise, seniority, location and whether the work is urgent.

We work with real estate lawyers in our lawyer network who specialise in commercial real estate 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 Real Estate 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 Breach of Commercial Real Estate 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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