Commercial landlords should take note of the ACCC’s recent success in obtaining substantial orders against serviced apartment provider, Servcorp Limited. Servcorp’s precedent leases and contracts were found to include “unfair terms” which meant the terms in the contracts were unenforceable. Servcorp was required to establish a compliance program and pay significant legal costs. The case shortly preceded new Treasury laws which expanded the ACCC’s investigative powers in respect of possible unfair terms in precedent leases and contracts. This case and new legislation should prompt landlords to seek expert legal advice as to their exposure to risk under existing precedent leases and contracts.
The life-threatening Spencer Street Tower blaze serves as a reminder of the recent reforms introduced to reduce the cost of removing dangerous combustible cladding from properties with changes to the Local Government Act 1989 (Vic) that will create Cladding Rectification Agreements (CRA). CRAs will enable owners to rectify the cladding on their property and pay it off via their council rates.
The market is booming for online booking service providers connecting hosts and travellers globally. The short-term rental accommodation industry’s growth has been exponential, both globally and nationally. In the last decade, major service provider Airbnb has advertised in excess of 3 million properties worldwide, which is more than the total number of hotel rooms offered globally by the Marriott and Hilton hotel chains combined. The short-term rental accommodation industry now accounts for a multi-billion dollar contribution to the Australian economy. States across Australia are progressively rolling our regulations of the new industry.
1 January 2018 saw the introduction of a residential land tax to homes in inner and middle Melbourne that were vacant for more than six months in the preceding calendar year.