Relevant industry blogs provide a useful means of keeping abreast of developments which may impact commercial real estate practice. Useful information is available at the follow sites:
Robert Hay posts commentary on current relevant property and commercial law matters on The Property Law Blog. These posts can assist in understanding some of the complexities of legislative changes which may impact our commercial landlords, tenants and real estate agencies.
The website of the Victorian Small Business Commissioner provides abundant information and resources about landlord and tenant rights under the Retail Leases Act 2003. It also provides a low-cost dispute resolution service for landlords and tenants. This website is a mandatory reference for all commercial property managers. Here you may find recent VCAT rulings and court cases of industry significance. The FAQ page addresses common misconceptions.
It is best practice for commercial property managers and other practitioners to check Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) against the entity names provided by landlords, tenants and contractors prior to preparing documentation and correspondence or to setting up trust accounting and property management software systems.
Company searches may be conducted from this website. It is best practice for commercial property managers and other practitioners to conduct searches on company entities for landlords, tenants and contractors. It is necessary to confirm both the correct names of companies and the correct names of company directors to ensure the correct signing of any agency documentation. It is also wise to perform checks on tenant entities as a routine part of the tenant selection process.
The Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is the Australian register of security interests in personal property. It functions rather like an online noticeboard. The owner of any personal property may register a public claim of ownership. Commonly a landlord might register a cash security deposit paid by a tenant under a commercial or retail lease. Some landlords of commercial property will also register items of plant and equipment or of fixtures and fittings on the PPSR. Most commercial and retail leases include clauses relating directly to the PPSR and its bearing on the lease. It is advisable either to seek legal advice or to enquire about services provided by a third-party company specialising in PPSR registrations if your landlord wants to register his property interests. The requisite fees may be passed onto a tenant in some cases.
This website is very useful for calculating interest on arrears rental and outgoings. Check each lease first to ensure that the correct penalty interest rate is available on this web calculator. Further, check to see if there is a modifier or an additional percentage which must be applied to the standard penalty rate.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is commonly referenced in the rent review clauses of commercial and retail leases. In calculating CPI rent reviews, it is critical to use the correct CPI movement for the correct capital city. To find the relevant CPI index numbers, click on Selected Tables - Capital Cities. Navigate to the correct financial quarter and choose the applicable capital city for your state.
Each lease should contain instructions about how to complete a CPI rent review. It is best practice to refer directly to the lease for each property when conducting rent reviews.
The Property Council of Australia’s Method of Measurement for Lettable Areas (formerly the BOMA Method of Measurement) is used to conduct surveys to confirm the area of a tenancy and to determine the actual area of a premises. All rent reviews are based on this area for the duration of a lease.
Some leases will include a requirement for the landlord to have a survey completed and if so, this is an important term which must be complied with. There are several architects and other specialists who can provide these services.