Many businesses who enter a retail or commercial lease fit out their premises with their own goods. For instance, partitions and structures to make the premises appropriate for use or something simpler like desks, chairs and a photocopy machine. Below, we look at a tenant’s rights when it comes to leaving the goods on the property.

What Does the Lease Say?

Most leases will contain a make good clause and provide a timeframe in which the tenant must remove their goods. In some cases, a lease will state that the tenant can leave the goods on the premises as part of an agreement with the landlord.

If you have not yet entered into a lease, it’s sensible to try and negotiate lenient terms where you have a reasonable amount of time after the lease expires to remove your goods without penalty. This may not always be practical, however, as the landlord may have arranged new tenants to enter shortly after your lease expires.

Another important clause to look for relates to the removal of the goods if you leave them on the premises for an extended period (or after the lease expires). For instance, the landlord may choose to:

  • remove and store the goods,
  • require the tenant to pay for storage costs,
  • simply dispose of the goods, or
  • take ownership of the goods and sell them to make a profit.

It’s also essential that parties determine what the landlord’s goods are and what are the tenant’s.

What Happens if the Lease is Silent?

A lease may remain silent on:

  • the process the tenant must follow in removing its goods from the premises, or 
  • how the landlord will handle a tenant’s forfeited goods in case they are not removed from the premises. 

If so, the treatment of the goods will depend on whether they are considered to be fixtures or chattels. 

What is a Fixture? 

Fixtures refer to items in a premises which are in some way physically secured to the property. From a legal perspective, fixtures will become the property of the landlord at the end of the tenancy. Landlords will usually invest in fit-out works that involve installing fixtures. As the fixtures are the landlord’s property, the tenant cannot remove the fixtures. Whether this will benefit the tenant or landlord will ultimately depend on the value of the fixture.

What is a Chattel?

On the other hand, a chattel is not intended to be a fixed item within the premises. In NSW, if a tenant abandons a ‘chattel’, the landlord does not have the automatic right to remove and dispose of the item. This is because of the Uncollected Goods Act 1995 which requires the landlord to go through a specific procedure to dispose of uncollected goods. For instance, the landlord may need to apply to the court for an order or allow the tenant a period to collect the goods.

Key Takeaways

Tenants should understand that if they leave goods on the premises, their lease will govern the process for the removal. If the lease is silent, the treatment of the goods will depend on whether they are fixtures or chattel. If you have any questions or need assistance reviewing your lease, get in touch with our specialist commercial leasing lawyers on 1300 544 755.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Kristine Biason
Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at

View Privacy Policy