Beware national lease registration system

  • Author : Robert Hay QC - 26-03-2012

Victorian landlords and tenants should be slow to embrace the draft Uniform Torrens Title Act that has just been published.

At present there is no requirement in Victoria to register leases and s.42(2)(e) of the Transfer of Land Act 1958 provides that the interest of a tenant in possession of land is an exception to the rules regarding indefeasibility of title: in effect the interest of a tenant in possession is protected when land is sold despite the lease not being registered.

The non-registration of leases in Victoria has worked well and landlords and tenants have not had to bear the cost of establishing and maintaining a registration system. Under the draft Act the exception to indefeasibility will apply only to leases of not more than 3 years (s.34(1)(g)).  Many real estate agents will be delighted by the change because one of their complaints is that it is difficult for them to determine "market rents" in the absence of a database of leases.


However, I have not heard any compelling arguments for registration of leases in Victoria.  If registration is required, landlords and tenants can expect delays in the Titles Offer and inevitably rising registration fees.  Apart from the national "neatness" argument, the proponents of lease registration seem to have difficulty in pointing to its benefits.  The draft Act is the product of the Property Law Reform Alliance.

About the Author

Robert Hay QC

Recent Posts

The Mortgagee’s Power of Sale

Robert Hay QC Date: 18-10-2019

“Retail premises leases” cannot jump out of the Retail Leases Act 2003

Robert Hay QC Date: 04-10-2019

Retail premises leases can “jump out” of the Retail Leases Act

Robert Hay QC Date: 01-08-2019

High Court affirms traditional test for enforcing oral contracts based on acts of part performance

Robert Hay QC Date: 20-11-2018

Estate agents’ commission fiasco to be fixed

Robert Hay QC Date: 26-06-2018

VCAT loses jurisdiction to hear a dispute where a party is not resident in Victoria

Robert Hay QC Date: 24-04-2018