The recent case of Cheng v Wang (Building and Property) [2019] VCAT 496 illustrates the importance of a landlords in Victoria maintaining and repairing ‘landlord installations’ leased to tenants under retail and commercial leases. The case involved a landlord who leased a restaurant premises to a tenant, which included the following landlord installations: a dishwasher, tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery, stoves, fridges and freezers stereo, cool room and sundry equipment including pots and pans. The tenant sought to recover the costs of maintaining, repairing and replacing the landlord’s installations for over a period over 30 years. The tenant argued that under s52(2) of the Retail Leases Act (Vic) that the landlord is obliged to repair and maintain the landlord’s installations, regardless of any conflicting clauses included in the lease. The VCAT ruled in favour of the tenant, ordering the landlord to pay the tenant for costs incurred and further ordered the landlord to repair, maintain and replace items in the future. This case illustrates that by including landlord installations in a lease may have a disadvantageous effect on the rent, accordingly landlords must be aware of their obligations under section 52(2).

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