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Why retail lease brawls are increasing: the Victorian Small Business Commissioner

The body charged with mediating disputes on retail leases in Victoria says that the “financial tightness” among landlords and tenants is likely driving a surge in conflicts.

The state’s Small Business Commissioner Geoff Browne says the number of complaints about retail leasing conflicts soared in the six months to December last year.

The complaints cut both ways: landlords are often chasing rent from tenants, and tenants are seeking the return of security for the lease. Another cause of dispute is appropriate rent increases, with valuers often sought by tenants who insist that the requested rate is too high for market conditions.

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