Commercial / Short-term Retail Shop* [incl. within Retail Shopping Centres] -> Licence to Occupy

Create this legal Document

Contact us to create this legal document.

Most Popular

Self Service

Create the document instantly yourself by entering the key details.


Self Service

Self Service is not yet available for this document.

Lawyer Assisted

Create the document yourself with 30 mins help from a lawyer.


Lawyer Assisted

Lawyer Assisted is not yet available for this document.

Full Service

We create a bespoke document based on
your instructions.



Please turn your device to landscape mode to begin creating your document.

Please turn your device to landscape mode to begin creating your document.

Thank you! Your message has been received!
Oops! Please check your details and try again.

An alternative solution to Empty Buildings/Retail Shopping Centres

A "Licence to Occupy" is a way to increase utilisation and drive engagement with the growing oversupply of empty/vacant retail shops/shopping centres/offices across Australia.

This problem has been mainly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on "brick and mortar" businesses.

Have you ever seen or entered a "Pop-up" Shop?

If so, the "Pop-up" Shop arrangement will most likely have been documented using a "Licence to Occupy".

These short-term arrangements can be beneficial to:

➲ test a business idea;

➲ take advantage of a seasonal increase in demand; or

➲ sell an excess of stock which needs a temporary storefront.

In some cases, if it works extraordinarily well, a longer-term lease can result.

Renewing Cities

For examples of how 'Licences to Occupy" have assisted in the past (originating in Newcastle, NSW) please read the book by Marcus WestburyCreating Cities” or to simply gain an overview please watch his 2011 TEDx talk.

We have also started a new “Pop-up” Shop ➲ Smart List which will be updated over time with curated inks on this important topic.

Short-term Retail Shop* [incl. within Shopping Centres] ➲ Licence to Occupy

* Whether the Short-term Retail Shop ➲ Licence to Occupy is deemed a Retail Shop Lease by your local State or Territory legislation will depend on factors such as the following:

1️⃣ The length of the licence (including an options to renew or extend); and/or

2️⃣ The length of time the licensee has already occupied the premises prior to the commencement of the Licence to Occupy.

Quick Overview of Australian Retail Shop Lease legislation^:

In ACT + NSW the relevant Retail Shop Lease legislation does not apply* ➲ if the term is for less than 6 months (with no option to renew or extend) and the premises were vacant prior to the Licence to Occupy.

SA ➲ Retail Shop Lease legislation does not apply if the term is for 1 month or less.

VIC ➲ Retail Shop Lease legislation does not apply if both the term (including any option to renew or extend) and the period of continuous possession are for 1 year or less.

TAS, WANo exemption.

* In Qld + NT the relevant legislation only partially applies.

^ Note: The above provides a general overview and is no substitute for legal advice.

We recommend you obtain our legal assistance to ensure a Licence to Occupy will be valid in your jurisdiction and specific circumstances.

Social Share Image: Courtesy of Pop & Zebra on Unsplash

Test your knowledge and get a discount for this document: take the .

Enter the code WHen you pay full price to Purchase one of the following Self Service documents:

No items found.

Re-Enter the code at checkout each time you buy the following documents to get a discount:

No items found.


What clients say

swipe left or right to view more testimonials
Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value. "Best of the best service! James is so kind and really likes to help. Very professional and knowledgeable too!"

Yan Zheng




Jul 2020

Positive: Responsiveness. "Insightful and adaptive legal service. Exceptional communication and collaborative working style - highly recommended."

Emily Stevens


Jun 2020

Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value. "The service from James Ford at Blue Ocean Law Group has been excellent. Very reassuring."

John Terry




Jun 2020

Professional knowledgeable. "The lawyer is really trying to understand the situation and give me the best advice for every possible way to protect my rights. The lawyer also gives advice on things I didn't request initially but definitely need in the future."

Amanda Xu


May 2020

Outstanding Service, second to none. "Overall the experience was outstanding. Their attention to detail was great, which is what you want from a law firm. They also went the extra mile by protecting the documents supplied against fraud so we could verify each piece of information."

Robert Ablinger | Co-founder + CTO - TraxPrint


May 2020

"I highly recommend James if you require legal advice, especially when time is of the essence. I needed help with a complex matter relating to property purchase, and within an hour of contacting James, I was able to meet him and discuss the issues and have him explain my options with clear references to the applicable law. James continued to work on the matter afterwards and explain my situation and options by the end of the same day. I had not met a lawyer before who was as fast and ready to help as James. It was a great experience to work with him."

Zoltan Toth | Principal Electronics Engineer @ NearMap


Oct 2019

"James is an experienced lawyer who I had the pleasure of working with previously. I highly recommend James."

Connor James | Founder of Compliance Quarter [Westpac "Business of Tomorrow" Winner 2018] + Principal Solicitor @ Law Quarter


Oct 2019

"James and the team at Blue Ocean have advised us on a number of matters relating to retail leasing and commercial property purchase over the past 12 months. We’ve found his advice extremely valuable throughout, and he has helped us avoid what could have been significant/expensive issues in the future by providing his input and expertise. He’s always quick to respond to any questions or queries and overall the fees are very reasonable. We will continue to use Blue Ocean in the future and can highly recommend to others."

Jade Lillo-Trynes


Sep 2019

"Blue Ocean Law Group went the extra mile to deliver by collaborating with a local New Zealand law firm to deliver the Questrade (Canada) VOI – Verification of Identity I needed."

Sam Martin | Supervisor | Assurance + Advisory [Deloitte. N.Z.]


Sep 2019

What is a Free Legal Health Check and why is this the best place to start?

What is a Free Legal Health Check? ✅

Our Legal Health Check is a process that helps you identify + prioritise your individual + business (if relevant) legal needs.

How does it work?

1️⃣ Complete our Intelligent Questionnaire:

You will be asked to provide information about your personal and/or business circumstances;

2️⃣ Automated Report:

The process uses inbuilt Embedded Lawyer-Logic™ to help you identify key legal risks + concerns and prioritise solutions.

A customised (jargon-free) report is generated in plain english with actionable recommendations.

3️⃣ Deliver Solutions:

You can then consider the information in your own time, and when convenient, select the most appropriate self-service legal documents from our online 24/7 portal or reach out to our legal team to discuss your options in more detail.

What does it cover?

🧩 Estate planning;

🧩 Marriage and de facto relationships;

🧩 Tax structuring;

🧩 Dispute avoidance/resolution;

🧩 Investment properties;

🧩 Business sale/purchase;

🧩 Business financing;

🧩 Co-ownership arrangements;

🧩 Managing staff;

🧩 Commercial terms;

🧩 Websites and intellectual property;

🧩 Regulatory compliance.

Why go through this process?

This is an amazing way to quickly + proactively identify legal risks + opportunities to get your legal affairs in order!

Achieve Zen-like “peace of mind” knowing your legal affairs are in order

Our Buccaneer Package is designed for individuals + includes our constantly expanding library of [Self-Service] personal legal documents.

It is compelling value with pricing at less than $1 per day which entitles you to access heavily discounted [members only] prices.

You could save thousands $$$ on your legal bills!

Our Yachtsman Package designed for business owners includes our constantly expanding library of [Self-Service] personal + business legal documents.

It is compelling value with pricing at circa $3.50 per day [equivalent to the price of a cup of tea or coffee!] which entitles you to access heavily discounted [members only] prices.

You could save thousands $$$ on your personal + business legal spend!


This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

More than 1000+ Australian Lawyers use Embedded Lawyer-Logic. How does it work?

More than 1000+ Australian lawyers use this industry leading automated legal document generation solution. It uses Embedded Lawyer-Logic™ designed by leading lawyers in their respective fields.

Step 1️⃣: Information Gathering

Our intelligent online questionnaire adapts to your answers and only asks relevant questions.

Simply follow the guidance and enter the requested information about your matter.

Step 2️⃣: Document Assembly

The information is then sent to our back-end legal document generation engine, which follows a matrix of algorithms to make decisions about what should be in your legal document, just as an expert human lawyer would do.

The engine then draws from an enormous body of content to assemble a top-tier quality legal document that’s tailored to your situation + requirements.

Our Embedded Lawyer-Logic™ technology includes numerous quality control checks + automatic error-correction, massively reducing the risk of human error.

Step 3️⃣: Document Delivery

The finished document is then emailed to you in PDF format, ready to print and sign.

Optional: Lawyer Review/Assistance

Your answers to the online questionnaire and a copy of the finished document in both Word + PDF formats are automatically forwarded to our legal team.

If we notice anything out of-the-ordinary we will contact you to discuss.

If you are a subscribed member or opt for paid Lawyer-Assistance, we will use the allocated time to assist to clarify and resolve any questions you may have.

Optional: Full Service

If your matter is complex, high risk or you have never been involved in legal matters before, we highly recommend you opt for our Full Service.

Our legal team will contact you and assist you throughout the entire process.

If you are a subscribed member the cost for the time spent by our legal team to assist you is heavily discounted.


This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

When should I reach out to speak to your legal team?

Our [Self-Service] legal documents are designed to be completed "without the intervention of a lawyer".

This approach will be appropriate for the majority of routine legal matters, where you are experienced and have learnt what needs to be considered and have gained experience in using our 24/7 online document portal to generate your legal documents instantly.

Some routine matters maybe totally new to you (meaning that you will have questions and we recommend you select our [Lawyer-Assisted] service).

Other matters maybe unusually complex, or of such high-value or risk that involving our legal team is the prudent course to take.

For these matters we recommend you select our [Full Service] option.


This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Is the Legal Documents Portal Secure? Does it use encryption to protect my personal information?

Our website + back-end system use the best possible web-based security available.

It was once said:

It would take the combined processing power of every computer in the world thousands of years to crack 4096-bit encryption.

In a more general context (outside of encrypted secure website traffic/data) it has also been said:

Data with 4096-bit encryption (only protected by a password) could still be compromised within seconds.
How? Human error.
Easy pass-phrase, written down password, re-used password... etc. basically, always be on the lookout for the weakest link.
Trust the technology, but never trust the weak link - the user!


This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

What extras does an upgrade to Lawyer-Assisted Service include?

Your upgrade to our [Lawyer-Assisted] Service includes …

⚖️ Professional Indemnity (Limited Liability) by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation;

✅ Allocated Time included to understand your circumstances + objectives, answer your queries + provide legal advice & make recommendations regarding alternative/additional options; and

✅ Create your standardised Legal Document based on your instructions.

Plus [+] Where Appropriate (at no additional charge)

⚖️ Use of proprietary fonts to maximise fraud prevention;

⚖️ Use of our Law Firm Letterhead;

➲  Send your Legal Document for electronic signature/s using AdobeSign; and/or

🔒 Application of TraxPrint Fraud + Litigation Prevention Technology.


This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

What is the difference between a Lease v. A Licence to Occupy?

Lease v. Licence to Occupy

Commercial Distinctions

A lease is quite often a significant obligation on the part of businesses. It is both a financial commitment, and a time commitment.

Traditionally, the majority of the time, a business would look for security of tenure, and a landlord for a long-term tenant.

The lease was an appropriate arrangement suiting the needs of both parties equally.

However, an insistence on occupancy by way of a lease on the part of landlord prevents businesses from engaging in more experimental ventures.

With smaller or newer businesses particularly, risks cannot be taken with their business model when they have rent to pay for the coming fortnight; and so rental obligations may push them into a certain conservatism with their business, a reluctance to try different things and be different, for fear of insolvency.

Such risks are often mitigated with a Licence to Occupy affords an occupant many of the same rights as a lessee or tenant under a Lease, though usually for the short-term.

There are other legal distinctions between a lease and a licence, a summary of which can be found below, though the primary difference of interest in a commercial sense is the greater scope of risk-taking a business may undertake with a licence to occupy.

Legal Distinctions

Summary of the Legal Distinctions between a Licence to Occupy v. Leases

For a more detailed discussion of the commercial and legal differences between these two types of property law agreements please refer to our blog article “Licences to Occupy - A viable Alternative to Leases?" by Suk Jae Chung | Virtual Intern at Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

Is a Licence to Occupy a "Lease" for the purposes of AASB 16 Leases? Can it stay off-balance sheet?

The answer to this FAQ will ultimately be a question for your Accountant

Before you brainstorm the bricks n' mortar portion of your business plan, we strongly recommend you read + consider this FAQ to learn how adopting a more nimble business model which includes the use of a short-term Licence to Occupy (might be used to provide your business with a strategic advantage).

Other business benefits could also accrue, such as the opportunity to combine multiple + adaptive physical store presence with online eCommerce sales.

Why is this important?

If an agreement does not meet the definition of a "Lease" under AASB 16 Leases, then it is not accounted for on-balance sheet.

Why is this especially important for Commercial + Retail Property tenants?

The following observations have been extracted (emphasis added) from the PWC report entitled: Why the new standard matters to the Retail and consumer industry

The retail industry is likely to be one of the most affected by the new standard, given the significant use of rented premises for their stores. The PwC Global Lease Capitalisation study indicated that there would be a median debt increase of 98% for retailers, and 41% median increase in EBITDA.
Most of such leases are in the form of medium term leases (generally 3-5/9 years),whether in premium locations (flagship stores), shopping centres or ordinary outlets …
Historically such leases have been considered as operating leases, and have not therefore had any impact on the balance sheet.
The amount recorded in the income statement was typically on a straight line basis and entirely included in operating expenses. The new lease standard will not only have an impact on the balance sheet, but also on the operating costs, with a split of the expense between operating and finance costs.
The exemption for short-term leases and small assets is unlikely to provide any significant relief to retailers.

A Licence to Occupy is prima facie caught by the definition of "Lease" under AASB 16?

Under AASB 16, a "Lease" is defined as an agreement, or part of an agreement, that conveys the right to control the use of an identified asset.

The definition does not refer to an agreement labelled as a Lease.

Agreements not labelled as a Lease may meet the definition of a lease under AASB 16; conversely, an agreement labelled as a Lease may not meet the accounting definition of a Lease.

In assessing whether an arrangement is, or contains, a Lease, 3 key assessments need to be made.
These are presented diagrammatically below …
Source: AASB 16 Leases - A Guide published by HLB Mann Judd

Where the lawyer's role becomes clear The exemption for short-term leases!

In the majority of cases, the use of a Licence to Occupy (typically being a short-term arrangement) will qualify for the short-term lease exemption, meaning that it represents an alternative method to circumvent the application of AASB 16 which means that such arrangements can potentially (subject to confirmation from your accountant!) remain off-balance sheet.

The use of a Licence to Occupy is therefore an increasingly important proactive strategic legal tool to consider when your business plans for the control or use of any property.

The technical details of the exemption

The following summary (in technical speak) has been extracted (emphasis added) from the KPMG article AASB 16 Check: Short-term and low value exemptions

The low value and short-term lease exemptions are available to lessees (tenants) only.
*A short-term lease is a lease that, at the commencement date, has a lease term of 12 months or less.
A lease that contains a purchase option is not a short-term lease.
The election for short-term leases shall be made by class of underlying asset to which the right of use relates [AASB 16: 8].
***The following lease expenses are not required to be disclosed:
Expenses relating to leases with a term of one month or less; and
Expenses relating to leases which are both low-value and short-term [AASB 16:53(c-d)].

Accounting Humour

I stumbled upon the following quote in conducting research for this FAQ and thought it worthy of further dissemination.

Extracted (emphasis added) from the article by David H. from the Queensland Audit Office: Do you have any ‘lease agreements’ that are not leases, or any hidden leases?

When discussing leases, it is useful to refer to the quote by Sir David Tweedie, the then Chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) on April 25, 2008 when he said:
"One of my great ambitions before I die is to fly in an aircraft that is on an airline’s balance sheet."


This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

What is a Force Majeure clause?

What is a Force Majeure clause?

A force majeure clause is a method of allocating the risk of a disruptive event. It is a broad catch-all provision whereby the parties list categories or specific instances of otherwise frustrating events, together with the party or parties to bear the risk of the event occurring.

The clause can also grant options to vary, suspend or terminate the contract to one or more of the parties. [1]

Force majeure clauses form part of a contract’s express terms, subject to the conventional methods of construction.

Absent a force majeure clause, it is unlikely a contract’s commercial purpose would suggest that such a provision is so apparent that it goes without saying [2], meaning a court is likely to refuse to imply it.

Further Reading:

For a more detailed discussion please refer to our blog article “Force Majeure Clauses & Frustration: Why the COVID-19 Pandemic is a Wake-Up Call" by Shakvaan Wijetunga | Virtual Intern at Blue Ocean Law Group℠.


[1] Eg., Yara Nipro P/L v Interfert Australia P/L [2010] QCA 128, [26].

[2] BP Refinery (Westernport) Pty Ltd v Hastings Shire Council (1977) 180 CLR 266, 283.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.