As we wind down from a big 2014, many of you will be wondering what’s in store for next year. The way in which we conduct business seems to be changing more quickly than we can keep up with. Here are some of our business tips for what’s ahead in 2015:

• Buying a business with vehicles?

If you are buying a business that includes a vehicle ensure the registration number and an approximate value of the vehicle are included in the contract. This will make the process of transferring the registration much easier and may mean it can be completed at the Transport office. Talk to us before signing the contract about what is needed and how it can help make the transfer process smoother for you.

• A good due diligence clause is important.

When buying a business or commercial property ensure you have a suitable due diligence clause in the contract and that it gives you enough time to make your enquiries. Sometimes 14 days is not long enough as some searches can take up to 10 business days to be conducted.

• Getting a new lease with that business?

Before signing the contract, ensure there is a special condition that sets out your requirements for the lease (aside from what is already in the contract) and gives you the ability to terminate the contract if you don’t get what you want (such as a lessor only offering you a Commercial Tenancy Agreement instead of a retail lease).

See us before you sign any contract so that we can ensure your interests are properly protected.

Coming in 2015

• Changes to the Franchising Code of Conduct and Retail Shop Leases Act

As from 1 January 2015 there is a new Franchising Code of Conduct that will impact the disclosure provided by franchisors. The effect won’t necessarily be immediate as franchisors have up to 31 October 2015 to change their disclosure statement to ensure it complies with the new legislation. Other changes being implemented include: an obligation for parties to act in good faith in their dealings with one another; introducing financial penalties and infringement notices for serious breaches of the Code; and requiring franchisors to provide prospective franchisees with an information sheet outlining the risks and rewards of franchising.

See us before you sign any documents to ensure the documents you receive are compliant and that you understand your obligations as a franchisee.

The Retail Shop Leases Amendment Bill 2014 (Qld) was introduced to Parliament on 25 November 2014 following a statutory review of the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (Qld). A number of changes are being considered including: commercial offices in retail complexes being excluded from the Act if they are on a level of the premises where there are no retail premises (such as here in Bluewater Square); ATMs, vending machines and advertising displays being excluded from the Act; a Lessor Disclosure Statement being defective only if it is incomplete in a material particular rather than for omitting irrelevant material and not complying with the approved form; proposed tenants may be able to waive the 7 day disclosure period by giving the landlord notice in writing and a legal advice report that confirms they have received advice regarding the effect of the waiver; and a landlord will be able to object to a tenant terminating the lease within the first 6 months on the basis of a defective lessor disclosure statement.

The Bill is still subject to the consultation and amendment process so watch this space for further updates.