A disclosure statement is a summary of the commercial terms of a lease. It provides information on the:

  • rent;
  • outgoings; 
  • floor area; and
  • turnover rent. 

Having a disclosure statement is a regulatory requirement for all retail leases in Australia. As a tenant, it is crucial to ensure that the information within the disclosure statement is accurate. This article will explain what you need to do if you discover a mistake in your disclosure statement to ensure you have accurate information about the property you are looking to rent.

State Specific Tenant’s Rights

All retail leases in Australia are governed by state-specific retail legislation. This means that your rights in these circumstances depend on which state the property is located in. 

Although the specifics vary from state to state, you will have the right to terminate your lease early if you discover that the disclosure statement is incorrect. However, you will be prevented from doing this if the landlord acted honestly and you have not been placed at a disadvantage due to the incorrect information. If you are able to terminate the lease, the landlord will also have to compensate you for any damage or loss you have suffered.

State Legislation Tenant’s Rights
NSW

Retail Leases Act 1994

Sections 10, 11, 12 & 12A.

In NSW, you can terminate the lease within six months of entering into it.

If the disclosure statement specifically did not disclose outgoings or contributions, you are not required to pay any outgoings or contributions undisclosed.

VIC

Retail Leases Act 2003

Sections 17, 18 & 20

You can terminate the lease early within 28 days after the last of the date: 

  • the disclosure statement was given; 
  • you were given a copy of the proposed lease; or 
  • you entered into the lease.

If the disclosure statement specifically fails to disclose the payment or contribution towards the cost of any fitout of the premises, you are not required to pay those payments.

QLD Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 Section 21F In QLD, you can terminate the lease within six months of entering into it. The landlord is responsible for paying you reasonable compensation for any loss and damage you have suffered.
WA

Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985

Section 6

In WA, you can terminate the lease within six months of entering into it. The landlord is responsible for paying you reasonable compensation for any loss and damage you have suffered.
SA Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 Section 12 You can apply to the Magistrates Court for a specific order, including an order to: 

  • cancel the lease;
  • change the lease; or 
  • receive compensation from the landlord.
TAS Fair Trading (Code of Practice for Retail Tenancies) Regulations 1998 Schedule 1 You can terminate the lease within three months of entering into it. If you have taken steps to mitigate your loss due to the landlord’s mistake, the landlord will be responsible for paying compensation for any loss or damage you have suffered. You are not required to contribute towards the cost of anything provided by the landlord which are not set out in the disclosure statement.
NT Business Tenancies (Fair Dealings) Act Sections 18, 20 & 22

In the NT, you can terminate the lease within six months of entering into it. The landlord is responsible for paying you reasonable compensation for any loss and damage you have suffered.

You are not required to contribute towards the cost of anything provided by the landlord which is not set out in the disclosure statement.

ACT Leases (Commercial and Retail Act) 2001 Sections 30, 117, 118 & 119 You can terminate the lease within three months of entering into it. The landlord will be responsible for paying compensation for any loss or damage you have suffered. 

Dispute Resolution

If there are any disputes between you and your landlord due to incorrect information in the disclosure statement, you will usually need to handle this per the dispute resolution procedures set out in state legislation. 

While this process will vary on a state by state basis, it typically will involve mediation or a similar process where a third party is appointed to assist in finding a solution between you and your landlord.

Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

In some circumstances, a landlord may provide incorrect information in the disclosure statement to attempt to mislead or deceive you. This kind of behaviour is prohibited under retail leasing legislation. However, the specifics of the regulations surrounding this kind of conduct varied between states and territories.

For example, while NSW prohibits misleading/deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct, VIC only prohibits unconscionable conduct. The laws surrounding this type of conduct can be quite complex, and it is best to speak to a lawyer if you suspect this has occurred.

Key Takeaways

If your landlord has provided you with a disclosure statement which you find has incorrect or missing information, you should refer to your state or territory retail legislation to find out what you can do. Most of the time, if you signed your lease less than six months ago, you will be able to exit the lease and claim compensation from your landlord for any loss they have caused you. If you have any questions about disclosure statements and your rights as a tenant, contact LegalVision’s leasing lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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