Commercial tenancy laws up for review in WA

By Domini Stuart | 15 Jun 2022 View comments

The National Retail Association (NRA) has urged the West Australian Government to strike a fair balance between the needs of all parties in its review of commercial tenancy laws.

The state Government reviews the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 every five years and has released a discussion paper that looks at various issues that may require updating. Also under consideration in this cycle are rent review rules, access to lease information, full disclosure of operating costs such as utility charges, early termination and end of lease rights, and unconscionable or unfair conduct.

NRA Chief Executive Officer Dominique Lamb welcomed the consultation process, and urged retailers to come forward and tell their stories to the Government.

A tough time

Lamb pointed out that all areas of the leasing and tenancies sector had faced a tough couple of years, and all would have their own view of how the laws should be reformed.

“Whether it’s shopping centre owners, commercial landlords or retail businesses operating from leased premises, almost everyone has struggled financially through the pandemic,” she said. “And while landlords were, in most cases, accommodating with rent reductions and deferrals, there are still thousands of businesses trying to pay down their rental debts.”

At the same time, there has been no reduction in landlords’ costs and most are now looking at increasing interest rates.

“It’s critical that the upcoming review takes account the stresses and constraints affecting all players – from the smallest independent trader up to large chains, and from major centre landlords through to the owners of small shopping strips and stand-alone buildings,” Lamb said. “We welcome the consultation, and thank the Government for providing the opportunity.  Now it’s important for the whole sector to share their views.”