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Different states and territories have regulations governing retail and commercial lease registration. Most states and territories allow registration of a retail or commercial lease that exceeds a three-year term. This is because the relevant Acts in each state protect short-term leases regardless of whether they are unregistered or registered. In some states, registration is a requirement. However, in others, there is no requirement at all. In Victoria, the legislation protects all lessees when they are in possession of the property and have a valid lease. Therefore, leases are rarely registered in Victoria regardless of the length of the lease. This article explains why registering a lease is important and the requirements for lease registration in each state. 

Why is Lease Registration Important?

The tenant has the most to gain from registering their lease. Lease registration means that the tenant gains a registered interest over the title of the property from any event which may affect the ownership of the property. This usually arises in two circumstances, if the landlord:

  1. sells the property and the lease is not registered, then the new owner (who becomes the new landlord) is not required to honour the lease; or
  2. declares bankruptcy, and the lease is not registered, then the registered agreement between the landlord and its creditors (e.g. a bank) will be given preference. This means that the bank could take possession of the property and not honour the lease by, for example, evicting the tenant.

These circumstances show that having a registered lease is important for a tenant to protect their rights under a lease and their possession of the property.

In Victoria, the law protects all tenants when they are in possession of the property and have a valid lease, regardless of whether the lease is registered. Therefore, registering a lease in Victoria does not offer any greater protection to a tenant. However, there are still other benefits of registering a lease, including that it:

  • provides an official record of your lease, which is noted on the register of the Land Titles Office and the Certificate of Title for the premises. This is useful in the instance where someone disputes the validity of the lease; and
  • notifies third parties (e.g. potential purchasers, financiers) of the lease and the tenant’s interest in the property when undertaking a search. This is particularly beneficial for the landlord, as a registered lease is viewed as more secure than an unregistered lease by purchasers and financiers.

Must I Register My Lease? 

Below is a table of what the relevant retail leasing act in each state and territory says about lease registration requirements. 

State or Territory

Lease Registration Requirement 

Victoria 

There is no requirement to register a lease in Victoria and leases are often not registered. 

Queensland 

There is no requirement to register a lease in Queensland. However, leases with a three-year term or less need not be registered. An unregistered lease of a lot, or part of a lot, is not invalid merely because it is unregistered. 

Tasmania 

Tasmania has no requirement to register a lease. A lease exceeding three years may be registered. However, as a matter of practice, most leases in Tasmania are not registered.

South Australia 

In South Australia, there is no requirement for a lease to be registered.

Western Australia 

A lease with a term greater than three years may be registered. There are no circumstances where a lease must be registered.

New South Wales 

A retail lease with a term greater than three years must be registered and lodged within three months of being returned to the landlord following execution by the tenant. A lease shorter than three years can be registered if agreed upon between the parties.

Australian Capital Territory 

A lease may be registered. There are no specific requirements for the Australian Capital Territory. 

Northern Territory 

There is no requirement to register a lease in the Northern Territory. 

How Do I Register My Lease? 

You will need to lodge your lease agreement with the Land Titles Office in your State or Territory. The landlord usually registers the lease. However, the tenant often has to pay the cost of lease registration. Additionally, the fees for registration differ between each state and territory. It is important to factor in this cost before entering into a new lease. Both parties should ensure that when signing a lease, it is in a format that will be accepted by the relevant Land Titles Office of that state or territory. 

To register the lease, it is important to note that the relevant authority in each state and territory will have particular requirements for registering a lease. Further, each state and territory Land Titles Office will have different requirements as to: 

  • what forms you need to include for registration; 
  • if you need to include a fully signed lease; and 
  • if and what plans need to be lodged along with it. 

For example, in NSW, laws do not require a plan of the premises where the tenant is leasing the whole space. However, laws do require a plan if they are only leasing part of the premises. 

Key Takeaways

In some states, there is no requirement to register a commercial or retail lease. This is because the retail leasing laws protect all tenants when they are in possession of the property. This is regardless of whether a tenant registers their lease. Although your state or territory may not require registration of a lease, there are many benefits of registering a lease,  including that it:

  • provides an official record of your lease on the register of the Land Titles Office of Victoria and the Certificate of Title; and
  • notifies third parties (e.g. potential purchasers, financiers) of the lease and the tenant’s registered interest in the property.

You register your lease with the relevant Land and Titles Office in your state or territory. If you need assistance with understanding your lease registration requirements or registering your lease, contact LegalVision’s leasing lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is lease registration important?

Registering a lease means that the tenant gains a registered interest over the title of the property from any event which may affect the ownership of the property. For example, if the landlord sells to property or declares bankruptcy.

Do I have to register my lease?

The lease registration requirements vary according to the retail leasing act in each state and territory. In some states, there is no requirement to register a commercial or retail lease.

How do I register my lease?

You must lodge your lease agreement with the Land Titles Office in your State or Territory. However, each state and territory Land Titles Office will have different requirements for registration that you must adhere to.

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