Landlord Not Maintaining Shopping Complex - Can I Hold Back Rent?

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brett miller

13 June 2014
In June, I sent an email to the property manager for our small shopping complex saying that the drains in front of my shop were blocked. Nothing was done. After several face-to-face complaints over the past 12 months, nothing has still been done.

Last Sunday, we had a 3-hour rain storm and the water couldn't get away, there was a river at my front door, so you couldn't get in to my shop. The gutters were over flowing so you couldn't get through that as well (I took photos of this and sent them to the property manager). He has responded as 'we are looking at this'. I watched at least 12 cars drive away after assessing the river and waterfall, and they realised there was no way of getting to the shop. I have held back this month's rent for our commercial lease until they resolve this. The property manager said I can't do this!! Is this correct? Can I go for loss of trade? I worked it out to an average spend of $30 - 40 dollars per sale, so over 12 months it comes to about $5000.00. Can any one help me with this thanks
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Owens Lawyers

Well-Known Member
13 June 2014
Generally withholding rent is not a good idea as it means you are breaching the lease agreement. Compensation may be payable by the landlord as a result of not repairing parts of the common area. However, it's not clear whether the drains are part of the landlords responsibility or not. Could it be an issue for the local council or water authority?

I understand that in Qld the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal can deal with retail tenancy issues. See
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LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
27 May 2014
I'm in Vic and used to rent a small shop in a neglected shopping centre.

While it may feel good to withhold rent, it is not advisable if the landlord starts to get stroppy. The first replier is right and you can give the landlord the right to evict you. Try talking directly to the owners and avoid the property manager. If that fails, document everything well and then file a claim at admin tribunal.
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