Stephen from Australian Retail Lease Management is a passionate advocate for small business as the true lifeblood of the community and economy. Known as the ‘Retail Leasing Coach’, he has operated, educated and consulted to thousands of retailers and landlords since 1987. He’s been closely involved with high street and shopping centre leasing and management including once iconic properties such as Skygarden, original tenancies at Harbourside at Darling Harbour, Manly Wharf and many other suburban shopping centres.
Stephen is authorised to practise law under 14(2)(a) and 15(3) of the Legal Profession Act 2004 and has worked with industry organisations including the Australian Retailers Association (“ARA”), National Retailer Association (“NRA”) and represented COSBOA. He has been the retail property and policy advisor to various Government advisory committees included the founding formation and development of the Retail Leases Act (NSW) in 1994 and its various amendments on the NSW Retail Leases Advisory Committee. Stephen is often asked to comment on amending legislation to ensure unintended consequences in retail leasing matters, he is quoted in “Finding A Balance: Towards Fair Trading in Australia”, by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, 26 May 1997 and “The Productivity Commission’s” report into “The market for Retail Tenancy Leases in Australia” March 2008 and others in the media. He has attended more than 250 formal mediations and countless informal disputes and represented lessees in both NCAT and Supreme Court proceedings. He is a commercial, solutions-based advocate for all forms of retail property problems, regularly dealing with about 180-300 retail leases per annum. His portfolio includes many small and branded businesses negotiating new tenancies, tenancy remixes, renewals, market rent submissions, leasing incentive levels, fit-outs, occupancy costs analysis, solvency of tenants, relocations, terminations, surrenders, lessor’s rental expectations, best practice conduct and turnarounds. He has witnessed the corporatisation of retail property where many SMEs meet increasingly more and more financial and legal challenges. More recently, he’s been dealing with COVID-19 infected leases and implementation of the Code and the NSW Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulations 2020-22.