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WA Entering Commercial Lease - Council Approval Required?

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by fred, 22 August 2014.

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  1. fred

    fred Member

    21 August 2014
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    I have recently entered into a commercial lease and did not know I required planning approval from the council for a change of use. The shop is located in a suburban shopping centre, where there are other retailers. The shops in the centre are under strata title. The previous use was Red Cross retailing second hand goods. My business is a retail discount store.

    Upon inquiry from the council, I was advised to obtain planning advice, for a small fee, which will take up to 14 days (I have done this). Subsequently, if a change of use application is required, this may take up to 60 days. I have been advised by council not to open the business until approval obtained. This is a long time, considering it the only source of income.

    Is there anything I can do under commercial law to speed this process up? And what would happen if I am rejected?
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

    16 July 2014
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    Hi fred,

    Council's planning approval is generally needed whenever a property changes its purpose or use. This is quite normal. Small changes in purpose or use usually do not require approval.

    If it turns out that you do require approval, given that this appears to be a simple, straightforward matter, and given that the purpose is not too different from what it was before, it should not take too long to process and approve. Processing time will depend on the particular council, how busy the council is, administrative staff etc. There is not much that can be done to speed up council approval. Councils should prioritise commercial properties, however, given that business loss and income is involved.

    Approval will not likely be denied in your case given that the property is, and has always been, used for commercial/retail purposes.
  3. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

    14 April 2014
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    Hi @fred,
    Just a quick question - Did you seek legal advice when you entered into the new lease?

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