By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: New South Wales retailers will face less red tape and benefit from greater security following amendments to the state’s Retail Leases Act, according to the Minister for Small Business, David Campbell.

The NSW state parliament recently passed the Retail Lease Amendment Act 2005, which the Minister claims will provide a clearer and more effective framework for the retail industry when dealing with landlords and negotiating leases.

The Act generally affects retailers in premises under 1,000m2. A key feature of the new legislation is the introduction of a retail bond scheme to protect retail bond monies – much like the existing residential bond scheme.

“For retailers, the changes will mean their bond monies are better secured and they are much better informed about issues such as their right to a five year lease, what expenses can be claimed by their landlord, and even the annual turnover figures of shopping centres in which they operate,” said Campbell.

“Importantly, choice will remain. A landlord and a retailer can still decide on another form of bond security, such as a bank guarantee, if that is what they prefer.”

The amendments follow 14 months of industry consultation and will take effect for existing retail leases on April 1. All new retail leases issued since the beginning of January are subject to the new framework. The government will publish a guide to inform retailers and landlords of their new rights and responsibilities.