Western Australian Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien has released a consultation paper in response to rising concerns by small business tenants about the lack of transparency in shop lease information.

The paper outlines options to make retail shop lease information more accessible to small businesses as part of the state government’s commitment to promote greater fairness and clarity in Western Australia’s retail tenancy market.

“Recent reviews of retail tenancy laws at both State and national level highlighted concerns about the need for access to meaningful shop lease information by those in the industry, particularly tenants,” O’Brien said.

“For example, without access to information on comparable rents, tenants and valuers may be unable to determine what constitutes fair market rent for a particular retail shop.”

As part of the paper, the government is looking for responses on opinions in regards to increasing access to lease information for valuers who are advising tenants and prospective tenants; establishing a publicly accessible database of lease information; and compulsory registration of retail shop leases on the land title.

O’Brien said a position paper released in September 2010, which proposed that landlords in retail shopping centres would maintain a register of lease details, had not been favoured by stakeholders.

“We believe the new options outlined could achieve our goal of promoting a level playing field in the retail tenancy market.  I look forward to hearing the opinions of stakeholders,” he said.

Feedback is being encouraged from tenants, landlords and other property market representatives, including valuers. Responses should be submitted by August 19, 2011.

To view the consultation paper and find out how to respond visit http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/cp_reviews.