Western Australia reviews commercial tenancy laws

Employers and business owners are encouraged to participate in the state's review

Western Australia reviews commercial tenancy laws

The Western Australian government recently announced that it would review the state’s commercial tenancy agreements between business owners and landlords.

The state hinted that possible reforms under its Commercial Tenancy Agreements Act (CT Act) would be made, and interested stakeholders are invited to provide feedback to support an “ever-changing retail market” and promote the accommodation of diversity among sectors.

“The retail industry in Western Australia is characterised by a mix of small businesses and large businesses participating as landlords and tenants. This mix can sometimes lead to an imbalance in bargaining power and inequitable leasing arrangements,” the state government said in a media release.

It said it aims to “address imbalances in bargaining power” and “promote fair contract terms.” It also said that reforms would address pressing issues, including:

  • leases covered by the CT Act
  • minimum five-year lease terms
  • disclosure requirements
  • lease costs
  • first right of refusal
  • early termination due to severe financial hardship
  • trading hours
  • dispute resolution
  • unconscionable conduct
  • impact of COVID-19 and other issues.

Meanwhile, employers and businesses have said that the review process would be an excellent springboard for protecting the “viability” of industries.

“It’s vital for the WA economy that we have a strong and vibrant retail sector with fair and transparent tenancy agreements an important element. For this reason, I would urge industry participants and interested parties to take part in this public consultation,” Commerce Minister Roger Cook said in a statement from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA).

 “This review is the beginning of a process that aims to achieve the best laws possible to safeguard the viability of the industry for both retail tenants and landlords, now and in the future,” he added.

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