Retail leases

NCAT can hear and decide retail lease disputes between a landlord and a tenant of a retail shop in NSW.

Retail leases cases are managed through NCAT's Consumer and Commercial Division.

Orders NCAT can make

NCAT can make orders in retail leases disputes including:

  • Payment or refund of money
  • Rectification of lease or disclosure statatment
  • Claim for relief against forfeiture
  • Payment of security bond
  • Unconsionable, misleading or deceptive conduct. 

For more information about the orders NCAT can make, refer to the Retail Leases Act 1994.

Interim orders

You can apply for an interim order in addition to your retail leases application. An interim order can stop the actions of a party or preserve the current state until the application is decided.

NCAT will only make an interim order if urgent reasons require it.

Check if your matter is affected by federal jurisdiction.

How to apply

You can apply online. Learn how we handle your confidentiality and privacy.

What do I need to do before completing this application?

Attempt mediation with NSW Small Business Commissioner

Mediation is compulsory for most retail lease claims before applying to NCAT. Contact the NSW Small Business Commissioner to arrange a mediation.

You must attach the mediation certificate to your application unless you are exempt.

Exemptions from mediation

Section 68 of the Retail Leases Act 1994 says an application can be accepted without mediation if it is asking for an order that is the nature of an injunction.

Gather your evidence

Relevant information includes:

  • Retail shop lease agreement
  • Disclosure statement
  • Correspondence between parties, reports, receipts, photographs
  • Witness statements or affidavits.

Correctly identify the other party

To make a claim against a person, business or company, you need to use their correct name or legal entity. You also need the correct address for service. 

If the other party is a business or company, search ASIC's Registers and attach the search to your application.

NCAT may ask you for more information to ensure the other party's details are correct. Not providing correct details can cause delays or the making of unenforceable orders.

Need more information?

Application fee

View our current application fees and charges.

Concession card holders are eligible for a reduced fee. Have your concession card with you when you lodge the application to claim the reduced fee. 

Monetary limits

The maximum amount you can claim is $750,000 (if lease entered into on or after 1 July 2017) or $400,000 (where lease entered into before 1 July 2017).

Time limits

You must apply to NCAT within 3 years after the liability or obligation that is the subject of the claim arose, or after the alleged unconscionable conduct occurred.

What happens next

Retail lease matters are first listed for directions. Check the notice of hearing from NCAT and follow the instructions provided. If your case is not resolved at the first hearing it may be listed for a contested hearing on a later date.

Read the hearing preparation checklist to prepare for your hearing. 

Can someone represent me?

Parties in retail lease matters are entitled to be represented by an Australian lawyer or other agent without requiring the leave of the Tribunal (Clause 7 (b) Schedule 3 of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013

Organisations that can help

NCAT cannot provide legal advice. For more information, go to Get legal help and advice for organisations that provide free or low-cost legal advice and information. Find out how we can and cannot assist.

Last updated:

19 Nov 2023

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