4 Common Commercial Lease Disputes

Are you involved in a commercial lease dispute at the moment? Perhaps you could benefit from some guidance from commercial lease lawyers. This article outlines four common commercial lease disputes and what to do about them. Read on to find out more. 

Tenant Has Stopped Paying Rent

This is one of the most common commercial lease disputes, where the tenant stops paying rent for whatever reason. Even if they’re experiencing genuine financial hardship, they still have a duty to the agreement they have with you. What do you do in this situation? Your commercial lease lawyers will likely tell you to communicate with your tenant. If that fails, then you can issue a Notice of Breach, which details how the tenant has breached your agreement and states that they have 14 days to pay the outstanding rent. If after 14 days you still haven’t received the rent, you can end the lease. Incidentally, you can still sue the tenant if you choose after ending the lease.  

Landlord Not Fixing Things

It might be a blocked toilet or sink, a funny smell, or a door handle that’s fallen off, but no matter what, your landlord must fix it, unless it’s the result of something you have done. Call your landlord as soon as you notice the problem and ask them to fix it. The Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic) states that if urgent repairs are necessary, a tenant can arrange for those repairs with the landlord footing the bill. If you’re in this situation, serve the landlord with a notice of repairs plus the fee no later than 14 days after the repairs are done. For these kinds of issues, there is protocol to be followed, so it’s wise to consult with commercial lease lawyers before you take action. 

Rent Review Dispute

Your lease should spell out what happens when the tenant and owner disagree on rent review. If a compromise cannot be made that both tenant and landlord can agree on, then a valuer must be consulted to nominate market rent. If the idea of appointing a valuer is controversial, and agreement cannot be made on who to choose, then the Small Business Commissioner will appoint a valuer. The valuer is an expert in this field, and their say is binding on both the tenant and owner to resolve the issue. Until that decision is made, the tenant will pay the original amount of rent as before the market review. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you talk to commercial lease lawyers for advice.

Tenant Ends Lease Early

If you are a tenant who has ended or broken a lease ahead of the usual agreement time, commercial lease lawyers will advise you that you may be forced to pay rent until the normal lease term is up. You may also be liable for the landlord’s re-leasing costs, such as advertising to obtain a new tenant in the property. By the same token, a landlord has responsibilities in this situation too – they must be doing their best to find another tenant. If they’re not active in their response, the tenant may get out of the obligation to pay out rent until the end of the lease. If you find yourself in the situation of needing to end a lease early, ask for advice from commercial lease lawyers for the best results.  


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