Under amendments to the Retail Leases Act 2003 passed in the Victorian Parliament this week, retail tenants must now be informed of the proposed rent amount before they extend their lease.
Tenants will also now have 14 days to consider the terms and conditions of a proposed lease, compared with seven days previously.
The Victorian government said the changes were made after consultation with the retail sector and will enable small businesses to be more agile and make their legal obligations easier to understand.
However, landlords will still be able to pass on the costs of repairs, maintenance and installation of essential safety measures to tenants when mutually agreed to in a lease.
The Victorian government said it will continue to engage with businesses outside the retail sector to consider the status of essential safety measures in other commercial leases.
“We’ve listened to Victoria’s small businesses and delivered fairer, more transparent and easier to understand retail leases — and less red tape,” said Victorian Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford.
“This is about giving business owners a fair go in tough times and providing certainty for all parties.”
The announcement comes after the Victorian government extended the ban on rental evictions and rent rises until the end of the year.
It has also established a Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund, offering grants of up to $3,000 per tenancy to eligible landlords.
Over 9,500 rent-related inquiries have been received by the Victorian Small Business Commission from small-business owners and landlords relating to disputes around rent relief.