Locked out of premises
If a tenant has breached the terms of their lease agreement and has not rectified the breach in accordance with a correctly served Notice to Remedy Breach, the landlord may lock them out.
- In certain circumstances landlords may lawfully lock out tenants from commercial and retail premises.
- Courts have jurisdiction to decide the validity of notices and whether a lock out was lawful.
- QCAT can make an interim/injunction order under the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 if a situation emerges that requires urgent action.
- QCAT does not have jurisdiction to hear matters involving a commercial (non-retail shop) lease.
- Lockout of the premises may also be due to the lease having been terminated.
Generally, landlords cannot take possession and re-enter (lock out) a tenant of the premises without providing notice.
- Specific conditions outlined in the lease agreement typically grant the right of reentry to the landlord.
- The Property Law Act 1974 sets out the procedures for a landlord to provide notice to the tenant to exercise their right of reentry or forfeiture of a lease.
- If an invalid notice was relied upon by the landlord for a ‘lock out’, a tenant may have a right to compensation.
Both the tenant and the landlord have obligations outlined in the lease agreement that they must adhere to. When a commercial or retail tenant has been locked out, the terms of the lease may stipulate:
Negotiating the return of personal items can be very important. Landlords (if asked) may allow removal of:
If the tenant has given a personal guarantee for the lease (and potentially also given a personal guarantee for the stock, plant, and equipment still in the premises), there may also be a risk to the tenant’s personal assets.
Items in the PPSR
If landlords and tenants have personal property security interests registered on the Personal Property Securities Register (the PPSR) they may be subject to different obligations in relation to that/those security interests.
Impact of lock out
Lock out response
If you find yourself locked out, consider the following steps:
The conditions granting the landlord the right of re-entry can vary considerably from lease to lease.
- Tenants should seek urgent legal advice from a qualified attorney experienced in property and tenancy law.
- The QSBC may be able to offer mediation; however, it may not be suitable, or required, in urgent situations.
- The QCAT website explains the process for making an application for interim/injunction orders.
Locked out without notice
If you find yourself locked out without the proper notice, consider the following steps:
Download the Locked out of premises factsheet.