Small business legislation in Australia: does it provide a solution to part of the UK lease reform debate?
Crosby, N., (2007) Small business legislation in Australia: does it provide a solution to part of the UK lease reform debate? Working Papers in Real Estate & Planning. 03/07. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp19.
This paper addresses the commercial leases policy issue of how to deal with small business tenants. The UK has adopted a voluntary solution to commercial lease reform by using Codes of Practice which is in contrast to the legislative approach adopted by Australia to attempt to solve its perceived problems with small business retail tenancies. The major aim of the research was to examine the perceptions of the effectiveness of the legislation in Australia and discuss any implications for the UK policy debate but the results of the research also raise questions for the Australian regime. The research used a combination of literature and legislation review and a semi structured interview survey to investigate the policy aims and objectives of Australian Federal and State Governments, identify the nature and scope of the Australian legislation and examine perceptions of effectiveness of the legislation in informing small business tenants. The situation is complicated in Australia due to leases being a State rather than Federal responsibility therefore the main fieldwork was carried out in one case study State, Victoria. The paper concludes that some aspects of the Australian system can inform the UK policy debate including mandatory information provision at the commencement of negotiations and the use of lease registrars/commissioners. However, there are a number of issues that the Australian legislation does not appear to have successfully addressed including the difficulties of legislating across partial segments of the commercial property market and the collection of data for enforcement purposes.