Leasing Disputes

Leasing Disputes

Our leasing disputes team has extensive experience advising clients on all aspects of lease agreements and the leasing of commercial or retail property in Queensland. Our clients include large landlords and tenants to whom we have provided comprehensive, efficient and cost effective advice including:

  • advice regarding the drafting and negotiation of terms of lease;
  • advice as to landlords’ and tenants’ rights and obligations under a lease and relevant legislation; and
  • advice as to the resolution of disputes arising pursuant to lease agreements.

Our leasing disputes lawyers have extensive knowledge and a proven track record in advising clients on all aspects of leasing disputes and dispute resolution including client representation in court and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“QCAT”).   They are commercially astute and value the importance of maintaining commercial relationships while recognizing company strategies, values and the ultimate goals of the business.

We are committed to providing quality, reliable and sound legal representation that is cost effective and results driven. We work closely with directors, company executives and staff of the business to ensure a practical approach to leasing disputes is achieved, which is personal and tailored to the needs of our clients.

Commercial leasing disputes

We have acted on behalf of landlords and tenants in relation to commercial leasing disputes in a variety of matters, including but in no way limited to:

  • Termination of leases;
  • Notices to remedy breach and relief from forfeiture;
  • Rent review and lessor’s outgoings;
  • Structural issues and repairs;
  • Recovery of rent arrears and outgoings;
  • Exercise of options to renew;
  • Variations to, surrender or assignment of leases and subleases;
  • Licence agreements, and
  • Security deposits, bank and personal guarantees.

In particular, our experts can assist landlords and tenants to successfully navigate jurisdictional considerations and compliance with the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (Qld).

Commercial and retail shop leases

Our experience includes advising landlords and tenants of retail shop leases as to:

  • Landlords’ and tenants’ rights, obligations and remedies regarding service of a Form 7 Notice to Remedy Breach (“Form 7 Notice”);
  • The validity and form of a Form 7 Notice as required by s.124 of the Property Law Act 1974 (Qld);
  • Court applications for relief against forfeiture pursuant to s.124 of the Property Law Act 1974 (Qld) including advice regarding;
  • The requirements of the court when seeking relief;
  • Circumstances the court takes into consideration when deciding to grant or refuse such relief: and when relief of this nature is available to a tenant.  For example, when determining whether relief should be granted, the court may take into consideration circumstances of the case such as the conduct of the lessee, the nature and gravity of the breach, whether the lessee has attempted to rectify the breach and whether the conduct of the lessee was wilful.
  • Jurisdictional considerations and the interpretation of relevant provisions of the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (Qld) (“the RSL Act”), the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal 2009 Act (“the QCAT Act”) and QCAT Rules;
  • The legal cost implications, advantages and disadvantages (as the circumstances require) of pursuing a leasing dispute in QCAT as an alternative to Court;
  • Conducting settlement negotiations and successfully leading settlement conferences in resolution of the issues in dispute with the relevant directors and staff of the business, lessee/ lessor, real estate agents and retail shopping center managers as the case may be;
  • The overall conduct and management of QCAT proceedings generally, including;
    • Preparing and filing a Notice of Dispute;
    • Following receipt of a Notice of Mediation, preparation for and attendance at Mediation (if legal representation is sought from and granted by the Tribunal);
    • If a dispute is not resolved at mediation, a mediator will ordinarily refer the matter to QCAT if the dispute is within QCAT’s jurisdiction;
    • Following receipt of a Notice of Hearing, preparation for and attendance at QCAT Hearing;
    • Providing advice regarding and the drafting and filing of a Response to the Notice of Dispute if required;
    • Providing advice regarding and the drafting of Affidavits and Submissions to QCAT;
    • Preparing and filing of material upon which a party to a dispute intends to rely at the hearing (whether on- papers hearing or otherwise);
    • Preparation for and attendance at any Directions Hearing and Compulsory Conference; and
    • Advice regarding QCAT Orders, costs, QCAT Decisions, enforcement and appeals.

In the event that you pursue your leasing dispute in QCAT, while this jurisdiction is more cost effective avenue, the relevant legislation under consideration is no less onerous than if the matter were to proceed in court. Our recommendation to you therefore would be to seek legal advice from a qualified professional before embarking on a retail tenancy dispute, at least to ensure that a lawyer can guide you through the process, forms, legislation and the merits of your claim and/or defence.

In addition, while a party to a retail shop lease dispute is not always granted leave to be legally represented in QCAT, our lawyers are happy nonetheless to assist and advise you through each step in the proceedings (and draft the relevant documentation on your behalf where necessary) and direct you towards a successful and positive outcome.

NB: Please note the above information stated or deemed should not be interpreted as a complete or exhaustive summary of the processes or the law in this area. You are strongly recommended to seek legal advice from the Bennett & Philp Lawyers Real Estate Team in regards to these matters and your own individual situation in order to maximise your prospects of succeeding in any leasing dispute.

We appreciate the nature of these disputes often require urgent attention. Please contact us on +61 7 3001 2999 for advice on your rights and obligations, as a landlord or tenant, in regard to leasing disputes.