Finding the ‘current’ versions of the 1986 and 1998 Acts

I am often asked how to find the ‘current’ versions of the Retail Tenancies Act 1986 (Vic) and the Retail Tenancies (Reform) Act 1998 (Vic).  To understand why this question is hard to answer, it helps to understand some of the background to the legislation.

The 1986 Act was repealed by the 1998 Act.  However, the 1986 Act continues to govern leases entered into between 1986 and 1998.[1]

The 2003 Act repealed the 1998 ActHowever, the 1998 Act continued to govern leases that were entered into between 1998 and 2003.[2]

Consequently, there are still retail leases floating around that are governed by either the 1986 or the 1998 Act (although they are becoming very rare).

The 2003 Act also made changes to the 1986 and 1998 Acts.[3]  Those amendments took effect at the same time as the 1998 Act was repealed (or, possibly, the nanosecond or day before).

As a result, if you look for the latest version of either the 1986 or the 1998 Act on the Victorian Government website, you will only see a note recording that the Act has been repealed.

The Retail Leases (Amendment) Act 2005 (Vic) also made amendments to the 1986 and 1998 Acts.

So, on the rare occasions when you come across 1986 or 1998 Act leases, the question is: ‘How do I find the “current” version of the 1986 and 1998 Acts?’

The short answer is to follow these links:

If those links aren’t working, here is the long answer.

Starting with the 1998:

  1. go to this website: http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/;
  2. click on Victorian Law Today;
  3. check the circle marked ‘Acts’;
  4.  click on the link marked ‘R’;
  5. click on the link marked ‘Retail Tenancies Reform Act 1998;
  6. open the drop-down menu on the bottom left-hand side of the screen marked ‘Click here to Show Version History‘;  and
  7. follow the link to version 18, current at 4/30/2003.

You should then be able to open a version of the Act that states on the first page that it incorporates amendments as at 30 April 2003.  However, if you look at the end of the Act (p 71), you will see that it contains amendments made by the 2005 Act.

Similarly, for the 1986 Act:

  1. repeat steps 1-4 above;
  2. click on the link marked ‘Retail Tenancies  Act 1986’;
  3. repeat step 6 above;  and
  4. follow the link to version 31, current at 06/30/1998.

Again, the title page says that it incorporates amendments as at 30 June 1998.  However, the notations in the Act show that it incorporates amendments from the 2005 Act (see p 52).


[1] Check the acts for the precise dates in which the regimes changed.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The main purpose seems to have been to make some of the procedural requirements in the old acts the same as under the new (eg the requirement to give between six and 12 months notice of the last date to exercise an option).

About Sam Hopper

Sam is a property and insolvency barrister.

View all posts by Sam Hopper

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