Small businesses warned on rights

SMALL Business Minister Margaret Quirk has urged small business tenants to preserve and protect their leasehold rights in the wake of the global liquidity squeeze. Ms Quirk said many small businesses risked losing thousands of dollars when a new landlord took over a shopping centre, although tenants could be protected by a simple caveat in their lease agreement. “If a small business has a retail shop lease exceeding five years, particularly in a shopping centre, the owners should seek urgent legal advice as to whether lodging a subject to claim caveat is the appropriate action,” Ms Quirk said. According to the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) a ‘subject to claim caveat’ is different from an absolute caveat, which most retail lease agreements disallow.

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