• Commercial Law

    Commercial Law

    We are business people as much as we are lawyers. We will take care of the legal documents so you can confidently run your business.
    As your business grows, its risk profile and governance challenges will change. We partner with our clients over the long term to ensure they are in the driver’s seat for success.

  • Dispute Resolution

    Dispute Resolution

    We are in your corner when the going gets tough. Having resolved over 6,500 disputes for business owners have seen it all before.

    Whether you need a skilled negotiator or a fearless litigator, we specialise in delivering commercial results when:

    Customers refuse to pay;
    Suppliers let you down; and
    Business Partners do the wrong thing.

  • Employment & Safety

    Employment & Safety

    The biggest challenge for any business owner, is managing their employees.

    A difficult employee can make you question why you got into business in the first place and be toxic to your team morale.

    We deliver proactive solutions to manage your team via employment contracts, policies and procedures as well as handling employment disputes when they arise.

  • Property & Construction

    Property & Construction

    Property is the key most wealth in Australia.  Whether you are buying, selling, leasing or developing property, you need a lawyer you can count on.

    We can advise on the whole property development process from obtaining finance to development approvals, construction and sale or leasing.

    We also act for the Master Builders Victoria and have extensive expertise in construction contracts and disputes.

  • Family Law

    Family Law

    At Taurus Legal Management we understand the unique challenges clients encounter during family disputes, especially when children are involved. Our family lawyers specialise in handling high-asset cases with a focus on protecting clients wealth, securing their family’s future, and safeguarding the best interests of their children.


Do you know if your business has a commercial lease or a retail lease? Were you aware there is a difference between the two? If not, don’t stress. Many of our clients are in the same boat.

A lease is an agreement that sets out the rights and obligations of the tenant and the landlord of the premises.


Commercial Leases

These tend to apply to premises that are used for a business, such as an office space or warehouse, where the use of the premises is not to engage in retail activity.

The terms of commercial leases vary as they aren’t governed by one specific piece of legislation, meaning that the lease can be very one sided. Essentially, the liability of the tenant under the lease will greatly depend on their ability to negotiate more favourable terms.

Despite this, the lease will generally contain terms on standard topics such as how much rent is to be paid, when rent is to be paid, the process for rent reviews, maintenance and repairs to the property and the process of dealing with breaches and termination of the lease.


Retail Leases

On the other hand, a retail lease is a lease of a business premises that will be used to sell goods to consumers. The most common retail premises are shops located in shopping centres.

The biggest difference between a retail lease and a commercial lease is that the former is governed by the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic) (the Act). The Act covers the main aspects of a retail lease, such as entering into a lease, renewal, rent and outgoings, refurbishment, assignment and specific rules for premises in retail shopping centres.


What is a Retail Premises?

For the Act to apply, the premises must be deemed a retail premises which means –

a premises that under the terms of the lease is used, or to be used, wholly or predominately for:

  • The sale or hire of goods by retail or the retail provision of services; or


  • The carrying on of a specified business or a specified kind of business that the Minister determines is a business to which the Act applies.

It’s obvious that a store selling clothing in a shopping centre would normally fall within the Act as the premises would be predominately used for selling retail goods. However, for other businesses, it may not be as simple to determine the predominate purpose of the premises.

For instance, in the recent case of CB Cold Storage Pty Ltd v IMCC Group (Australia) Pty Ltd [2017] VSCA 178 the Court looked to who the ultimate consumer of the goods or services would be. In this case, the tenant was a cold storage business storing customers’ products in the freezer warehouse in exchange for a fee. The Court held that this service actually fell within the meaning of a retail service as the ultimate consumers were those providing their goods to be placed in cold storage.

Even if the premises falls within the definition of a retail premises, it’s important to remember that the Act will only apply if the retail use is a permitted use under the lease.


Benefits of the Act

So why would a tenant want the lease to be governed by the Act? Because it provides them with safe guards and benefits, including:

  • The lease will generally be for a term of 5 years unless the tenant waives the minimum period. In comparison, the term of a commercial lease will be negotiated between the parties;
  • The landlord is required to provide a disclosure statement to a potential tenant prior to entering the lease;
  • The landlord is not able to claim the legal costs or expenses of negotiating, preparing or executing the lease or obtaining the consent of a mortgagee to enter into the lease. On the other hand, these costs are usually negotiated between the parties in a commercial lease; and
  • There are certain penalties placed upon landlords for failing to comply with the Act.


There are significant differences between commercial and retail leases and the applicable legislation. We encourage you to seek advice from a commercial law firm in Melbourne prior to entering into a lease to ensure that you understand your rights and obligations.

Posted by Taurus Legal Management