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Property Law – Retail Leases Act Changes

Parties to retail leases need to be aware of amendments to the Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW) (“RLA”) that have come into effect on 1 July 2017.

Some of the key changes to leasing of retail premises and their effects are identified below:
  • New Lessor Disclosure Requirements– Requires full disclosure in the lessor’s disclosure statement of any obligation of the lessee to contribute to the lessor’s outgoings and prevents recovery from outgoings that are not disclosed. This means a lessee will not be liable to pay any amount in respect of any outgoings unless the liability to pay the amount was disclosed in the disclosure statement for the lease.
  • Turnover Rent – Lessees may find shelter from turnover rent clauses in leases by utilising online transaction which now excludes online sales revenue, except where the goods are delivered from or at the premises (or the Centre) or where the transaction takes place while the customer is at the premises.
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Property Law – State Budget

Property Law – Background

The NSW Government has announced the introduction of a comprehensive housing affordability package with measures designed to improve housing affordability for first home buyers.

These changes are part of many announced following changes to State taxes and grants as part of the 2017 State Budget

Changes

In essence, from 1 July 2017:

  • all stamp duty for first home buyers on existing and new homes up to $650,000 is abolished, while stamp duty discounts on properties up to the value of $800,000 will apply
  • stamp duty charged on lenders’ mortgage insurance is abolished (this is often required by banks to lend to first home buyers with limited deposits)
  • a $10,000 First Home Owners Grant will be available to builders of new properties worth up to $750,000 and to purchasers of new properties worth up to $600,000.

(Note that the $5,000 New Home Grant Scheme which was available to all other buyers, including investors, will be closed)
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Property Law – CBD Changes

Property Law – Background

The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program is a regulatory program that requires the mandatory disclosure of a building’s energy efficiency information to the market when commercial office space above a certain size is offered for sale or lease.

The CBD Program is an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). It was established by the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 and is managed by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy.

Changes Made

In essence:

  • from 1 July 2017 the mandatory disclosure threshold on commercial office space will decrease from 2000 square metres to 1000 square metres
  • this means owners and landlords of smaller commercial office buildings may need to disclose the building’s energy efficiency when they sell or lease their property after this date

Tips

Our Matthews Folbigg Property Law team recommends building owners/landlords, tenants who sub-lease and real estate agents:

  • review these property law changes
  • seek the assistance of a property lawyer to understand the impacts of these property law changes
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