Is my shop covered by the Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW)?

In NSW, the Retail Leases Act 1994 (“RLA”) regulates the leasing of retail premises. If you are a business owner who is looking to lease retail premises in NSW, or a landlord wishing to rent out your premises, it is important to understand how the RLA affects your rights and obligations. In this article, we will have a quick look at the definition of ‘retail lease’ under the RLA.  

If your premises is a “retail shop” then the Act Applies. A shop is a “retail shop” if :

  • It is used for one or more of the business used in the Schedule 1 of the Act; or
  • It is in a retail shopping centre;


  • Is not an excluded lease under the Act


Schedule 1 of the Act


As mentioned, any shop used for one or more purposes outlined in Schedule 1 of the Act, is considered a ‘retail shop’. Schedule 1 lists a wide variety of shops ranging from ice cream shops and restaurants to stationery and religious goods shops. Take a look at the Act to see if your shop makes the list.

Excluded Leases

There are also exclusions. The following are examples of these exclusions that do not fall within the scope of the Act:

  • Leases for longer than 25 years
  • Leases for shorter than 6 months, with no option to renew or extend
  • Leases for premises with a lettable area of 1000 sqm or more
  • Leases for purposes that are excluded under the Act
  • Leases for a stall in a market unless it is a permanent market

Excluded Purposes

Some uses are specifically excluded under the Act. At the time of writing, some of the excluded purposes under the Act are the following:

  • Automatic teller machine
  •  Car parking (not being car parking provided as part of the business of a car park)
  • Children’s ride machine
  • Communication towers
  • Self-storage units
  • Storage lockers
  • Vending machine

As you can see, the RLA is a complex piece of legislation that one should not take lightly. If you are looking for legal advice, please contact our firm today.


This post only applies to NSW. This is NOT legal advice and should NOT be relied as such.

For legal queries, please contact us on 02 8014 5818 or email info@checkslaw.com.au.

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