Myer Wins $20M Lease Dispute
Myer has won its court case against the landlords of Chadstone Shopping Centre, Vicinity Centres and John Gandel, defending allegations of lease and outstanding back payments close to $20 million.
Justice Clyde Croft of the Victorian Supreme Court rejected the allegations of Chadstone’s joint owners’, which referred to unpaid outgoings between 2000 – 2016 totalling $19.14 million (plus GST, interest and other costs).
Chadstone’s joint owners claimed Myer’s lease held “infelicities or absurdities”, which resulted in the retailer’s underpayment.
Justice Croft also dismissed allegations of “incompetence and possible negligence” concerning the individuals who drew up Myer’s lease.
Vicinity Centres is reportedly “disappointed” by the court’s ruling, and states it is “considering its options”.Myer’s Chadstone landlords alleged there were errors in the retailer’s lease concerning variable outgoings provisions, including; land tax, water and council rates, property management costs and building insurance.
The landlords state Myer contributed less to variable outgoings, than smaller shopping centre tenants such as David Jones.
Justice Croft ruled:
“The evidence does not, in my view, support the plaintiffs’ position with respect to the mistake”
“The position which emerges at trial is that the owner’s lawyer who discovered the alleged mistake in the lease, formed the view that there was a ‘mistake’ in the lease without asking anyone who knew anything about the preparation of the lease”.
Justice Croft also dismissed allegations that Myer was aware of lease mistakes, and caused unreasonable delay in beginning proceedings.