Under Australian law, as soon as an individual signs a commercial lease, he is legally bound to fulfil all terms and conditions of the lease, including the payment of rent, for the whole duration of the lease. Verbal agreements to change the lease are not binding in Australia. If a tenant and the landlord (the individual or business entity leasing the premises) desires to amend the terms and conditions of the lease, such amendments must be set forth in writing, usually with the participation of commercial lawyers such as Lynn & Brown on one side and another firm representing the other side. Both the tenant and landlord must consent to any alterations in the lease. If both the tenant and landlord are completely aware of and consent to the lease conditions, there should be no disputes. Common grey areas, or the areas for confusion involve rent increases and lease renewals.
One of the reliable means of handling leasing disputes is mediation. A hearing by a special tribunal may be viewed as another way to remedy leasing conflicts and disputes. Each State and Territory of Australia has its own tribunal that specialises in handling commercial tenancy disputes. Thus, ACT Tenancy Tribunal was established in 1994 to handle disputes concerning retail premises, or premises located in a shopping centre and small commercial premises that are not located in a shopping centre. The ACT Tenancy Tribunal presently rests its decisions on the Leases (Commercial and Retail) Act 2001.