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Whether you are a small business owner or a first-time ‘renter’, signing a lease can be quite a daunting task, particularly if you have to read through pages and pages of documentation before you make up your mind. If you are looking for a residential or business premises, a Lease Lawyer can provide legal guidance about your rights and obligations.
What is a lease?
A lease is a legally binding agreement between a landlord (lessor) and a tenant (lessee). Generally, there are three types of leases you may encounter.
An agreement where the tenant pays the landlord rent in exchange for residence in the landlord’s premises
An agreement for the lease of commercial property, such as office space, warehouses and industrial sites
An agreement for the lease of retail premises that are used for the sale or hire of goods or provision of services
Residential leases are governed by state-based legislation. In New South Wales, this is the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW). In Victoria it is the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic), and in Queensland the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (QLD). Other Australian states and territories have equivalent legislation.
In the same way, commercial and retail property leases are also governed by equivalent legislation for each state or territory. 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).
What Is A Lease Lawyer?
A lease lawyer is a property law expert that focuses on rental and lease agreements for both commercial and consumer properties. Lease matters will vary in form; however, they primarily involve the agreement surrounding the lease including its drafting and negotiation. Besides this, they are also experts in resolving leasing disputes between landlords and tenants.
Why Do I Need A Lease Lawyer?
If you are looking to lease a property or engage with a lease as a consumer, it is recommended you discuss the arrangement with a lease lawyer. A lawyer in this field knows the processes and required documentation to successfully and efficiently lease a property. Besides this, if you find yourself in a dispute with either a landlord or tenant, these lawyers have extensive experience in resolving these matters so that both parties are satisfied.
What Will A Lease Lawyer Provide?
A leasing lawyer will ultimately provide a complete solution to any leasing or rental agreement. Property lawyers have extensive experience and understand the required documentation and submissions that need to be presented to the relevant authorities. If you encounter a dispute, they also use their knowledge to provide advice regarding the best step forward. If you are a landlord or tenant, they will be your best resource for advice on your rights and interest regarding a lease.
How Much Will A Lease Lawyer Charge?
Charges relating to rental and leasing agreements will be different depending on the lawyer. As lease agreements often come in a standard form, lawyers will often charge a fixed price. These fixed price quotes vary but usually range between $1500 and $3500. These prices, however, might not include relevant registration and lodgement fees. If there is a dispute between a landlord and a tenant or an agreement is needed in a higher detail, a leasing lawyer may charge a higher fee or by the hour.
Legal costs can be unpredictable and expensive. Our aim at LawPath is to provide you with legal options that are fast, affordable and transparent. By providing you with fixed priced quotes this means you are always aware of the costs and can choose the best solution for your businesses intellectual property matters.
Hourly rates and Court fees
The cost of a 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 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.