The Retail Tenancies Amendment Bill 2012 (Vic) was introduced into Parliament yesterday.
The main purpose of the Bill is to remove the requirement to report to the Small Business Commissioner particulars of a new or renewed lease (currently required under s 25 of the RLA 2003).
The requirement to notify the Commissioner of leases and renewals has been criticised for some time as:
- increasing the administrative burden on landlords; and
- not creating an accurate register of leases because there is no requirement to notify the Commissioner of variations, terminations or surrenders.
The Bills also introduces amendments clarifying that the following obligations apply to prospective landlords:
- the requirement for landlords to provide a copy of the proposed lease in writing and the Commissioner’s information brochure at the negotiation stage (see s 15);
- the requirement to provide a disclosure statement before entering into a lease (see s 17). Amendments are also made to clarify that associated rights are extended to prospective tenants; and
- the prohibition on seeking and accepting key-money (see s 23).
The definition of landlord under the RLA 2003 is:
landlord under a retail premises lease—
(a) means the person who under the lease is entitled to the rent payable for the premises; and
(b) in Part 10, includes a former landlord (because of section 83);
On one view, that definition excludes a prospective landlord, which may either render inoperative or reduce the scope of ss 15, 17 and 23. The Bill appears to be directed towards clarifying the operation of those sections.
It also corrects a typographical error in s 21(5)(a).
The text of the second reading speech can be viewed here.