A new law has been proposed by the Western Australian government that will promote fairness and equity for small business when negotiating retail shop leases.
The Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Amendment Bill 2011 now before State Parliament aims to protect the tenancy rights of small business by making lease arrangements between landlords and tenants in retail shop premises more equitable and efficient.
Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien said the new provisions will provide a more transparent framework in which both landlords and tenants can pursue their commercial interests by protecting the rights of tenants in relation to their options to renew and reduce leasing costs.
“The bargaining power of tenants will be improved by prohibiting landlords from passing on to tenants certain legal fees relating to the preparation and negotiation of the lease agreement,” he said.
“The Bill also intends to enhance security of tenure for tenants by requiring prior notification of the expiry date of their option to renew. Market rent reviews will be more accurate and consistent.
“The reforms also provide for access to a low-cost dispute resolution process by giving the State Administrative Tribunal the power to hear any claims of misleading and deceptive conduct.”
The Bill comes after 90 stakeholders put in more than 60 recommendations during the review of the existing laws, proposing reforms that will promote a fairer and more efficient retail tenancy market.
“Together with our Bill to create a Small Business Commissioner, the Government is committed to supporting the retail sector in WA and introducing effective legislation that will provide a level playing field in the area of retail shop leases,” O’Brien said.