Up until September 2014, there has been some uncertainty as to whether a landlord can sue a retail tenant's guarantor in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The Courts Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2014, which received Royal Assent on 9 September 2014, contains a number of amendments to the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic.) (Act) which expand the definition of "retail tenancy dispute".
New section 81(1A) of the Act provides that a "retail tenancy dispute" now includes:
- a dispute between a landlord and a guarantor of a tenant's obligations under a lease; and
- a dispute between a landlord and a person who has given an indemnity to the landlord for loss and damage arising as a result of a breach by a tenant of a lease.
In addition, new sections 86(1A) and (1B) provide that a guarantor/indemnifier may refer a retail tenancy dispute to the Small Business Commissioner for mediation.
As a result of the foregoing amendments, the jurisdiction of the Tribunal has also been expanded such that the Tribunal now has jurisdiction to hear and determine an application by a guarantor/indemnifier.
The above amendments took effect from 10 September 2014.