At Newhouse & Arnold Solicitors, we have a dedicated leasing team of lawyers who have successfully negotiated with major shopping centre retail lessors and have acted for both sides over the years, from initial discussions and advice for a lease to resolving complex leasing disputes.

Our leasing team has extensive knowledge and strong negotiating skills and we have acted for lessors and lessees for commercial space from 20m2 up to large warehouses and buildings.

We provide you with a competitive fixed fee to provide you with certainty around your legal expenses. As experienced leasing lawyers, we offer services as follows:

  • Review and provide specialist advice for your commercial lease, including negotiating changes on your behalf,
  • Review and provide specialist advice for your retail lease and associated documents including the lessor’s disclosure document, including negotiating on changes on your behalf,
  • Negotiating and resolving retail and commercial lease disputes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I am interested in leasing some commercial space for an office, warehouse or retail space for a shop, what do I need to do?

A: At Newhouse & Arnold Solicitors we  talk with you about your requirements for your business and whether the space you are looking to lease will suit your needs.  The agent will send to you a lease proposal with the commercial terms including rent, outgoings, the term of the lease and what guarantees may need to be provided.  This is the best time to engage us as your experienced leasing lawyers to negotiate on your behalf.  For instance there can be strategies that we can put in place to entice a landlord to compromise on things like personal guarantees in the event that you are nominating a company as the tenant.  We attempt to minimise any legal exposure for you and your business in negotiating the terms of the lease.

If the lease is for a retail store your landlord, even if they are a large shopping centre, will issue you with  a lessor’s Disclosure Document, which gives you important information about the retail space you are leasing.  You will receive this document at least 7 days prior to receiving the lease document.  It is important that you go through the Disclosure Document with us to ensure that any statements made to you by the agent or landlord are included. 
Common things often excluded are statements or promises made in advertising material such as brochures or simply statements made to you that you are relying upon to enter into the lease.  As your leasing lawyers we can guide you through the Lessor’s Disclosure Document and prepare the lessee’s Disclosure Document on your behalf.

Once you return the lease proposal and the lessee’s disclosure document, the landlord will then issue the lease, through their lawyers.  As your leasing lawyers we review the lease and advise you as to the contents of the lease and suggest changes to the clauses which tend to favour the landlord.  Our experienced team will attempt to make the lease a fair document and agreement for both parties.

It is common for a landlord, in both the commercial and retail sectors, to either offer a rent free period or a contribution by paying part of or all of your fit out of the premises.  We as your leasing lawyers can assist you in negotiating the very best result and maximum contribution to kick start your business and the lease.

Q: What charges will I need to pay before starting the lease?

A: You will need an insurance policy to cover public liability and replacement of plate glass for the premises.  The policy must be taken out at the commencement of the lease with a known Australian insurance company and you will be required to show evidence of the policy before the landlord will allow you to enter into the premises to commence the lease.

Normally, you will also need a bank guarantee or a bond for an agreed amount, usually for three to six months’ rent.  The idea of the bank guarantee or bond is for the landlord to have your money in the event that you default on any payment or a term of the lease.

In a commercial lease you will also be expected to pay for the landlord’s legal costs for preparing the lease.  As experienced leasing lawyers we negotiate for each party to pay their own legal fees, or at the least attempt to cap the landlord’s legal fees for you to provide you with some certainty.  For a retail lease it’s against the law for a landlord to insist the tenant pay for its legal fees of preparing the lease. You will also need to cover your own legal fees and we would recommend that your structures be reviewed to see if the lease should be in your name, a company name, partnership or trust.  We can provide you with a competitive fixed fee to provide you with certainty around your legal expenses.

Q: There is a problem with the building and it is affecting my business.  What can I do?

A: If the landlord is refusing or neglecting to fix problems which impacts your business then the landlord may be in breach of the lease and you may be entitled to claim compensation or be provided with a reduction of rent until the problem has been rectified.  Any remedy available to you will depend upon the terms of the lease, which as your leasing lawyers, we will be able advise you and take the appropriate action to best protect or compensate your business.  These problems are best dealt with a legal team who have experience in leasing disputes.

Q: My retail shop in a shopping centre is losing business due to less passing traffic which has dropped due to a lack of marketing by the shopping centre.  What can I do?

A: It is often the case with shopping centres that retail leases have an additional charge for marketing.  You are entitled to request, from the centre manager, what marketing campaigns have been conducted including viewing an audit to make sure that any marketing fund is being spent on marketing the centre.  Our experienced leasing solicitors can assist you in negotiating a reduced rent for a period of time until the centre can attract customers as in previous times.  We can assist you in preparing a proposal to deliver to the landlord which will set out why you should be entitled to a lesser rent to reflect the market conditions.


McMahons Point (Head Office)
23A King George Street,
McMahons Point NSW 2060
Phone: 02 9922 1100
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Bondi Junction (Branch)
Suite 14, Level 2, 51-53 Spring Street
Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Phone: 02 9922 1100
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