If you are a business owner operating out of a shop, an office or a factory, it is likely you have come across a commercial or retail lease. There are many aspects of leasing to consider which will be important for your business, including lease registration.

Commercial Lease Registration

Different states and territories have regulations governing retail and commercial lease registration. Most states and territories require registering a lease that exceeds a three-year term with the relevant Land and Property Office. This is because the relevant Acts in each state protect short-term leases (under three years in ACT, NT, NSW, QLD and TAS; 1 year in SA and five years in WA) regardless of whether they are unregistered or registered. In Victoria, the legislation protects all lessees when they are in possession of the property and have a valid lease, so leases are rarely registered in Victoria.

These Acts apply to leases that are not subject to retail tenancy legislation (most commercial leases). The reasoning behind this is that if your lease is for less than the relevant period, the legislation will protect you as the tenant if your landlord sells your premises to a new owner. The new owner will be required to accept you as the tenant, and honour your lease agreement.

If your lease is beyond this period, generally three years, the Act will not protect you. Registration is the only way to make sure you protect your interest in that property. This is critical if you are conducting a business as the sale of your premises to a new owner who doesn’t honour your lease agreement would severely impact on the ability of your business to survive.

How Do I Register My Lease?

The landlord usually registers the lease however, the tenant is often required to pay the cost. The fees for registration differ between states, but at the time of publication, they are, as follows:

  • NSW Land and Property Information: $109.50
  • ACT Access Canberra $130
  • QLD Department of Natural Resources and Mines $168.60
  • SA Land Titles Office $155
  • TAS Land Titles Office $129.10
  • NT Land Titles Office $142
  • WA Landgate $164

In order to register the lease, it’s important to note that the relevant authority in each state and territory will have particular requirements of what the form needs to include. For example, in NSW, the LPI does not require a plan of the premises where the tenant is leasing the whole space. However, they do require one if they are only leasing part of the premises. They are also strict about how the premises is described and must include a plan of any ‘open spaces’ like car parking spaces, which are also leased with the main premises.

Retail Lease Registration

In regards to retail leases, their requirements for registration are effectively the same as for a standard commercial lease, however, each state and territory’s Retail Lease Act is the governing instrument. It is important to understand how this legislation affects retail leases and the registration requirements.

In NSW, SA and NT, for example, if the lease is registered (which is mandatory if it is a lease over three years, and one year in SA), it must be lodged for registration within one month after the lease is returned following payment of stamp duty.

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If you are not sure about any aspect of your lease or your registration requirements or about what it means for you, get in touch with our commercial leasing team on 1300 544 755. 

Bianca Reynolds

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