I was offered a lease on a commercial property by an agent that promoted it for retail use. When I asked to use the building commercially they claimed I was on a residential contract and they had inserted a clause forbidding me from trading on the site. The ad I responded to read:
An exciting prospect for a residential tenant seeking office/retail accommodation plus storage offering direct access from ****** Street. The residential site was recently refurbished and accommodation includes 2 Bedrooms, kitchen and brand new bathroom - On-site parking is also available. Ideal opportunity for a multitude of uses. Flexible lease terms available. **** per calendar month.
I made my commercial intentions 100% clear from the very beginning and the agent promoted the commercial benefits but when I arrived to sign the documents I was tricked into signing a lease the agent claims "forbids commercial use of the premises". I was told all I required was "written consent" from the landlord but when I asked for it they told me to pay unspecified "costs".
Do I have legal options under false representation, pressure sales, consumer law or fraud if I requested but didn't actually receive a lease that was "multipurpose office/retail accommodation" on "flexible terms"?
EDIT: I found this and it seems relevant, is it?
National laws for unfair contract terms
As a supplier, you must ensure your contracts comply with national unfair contract terms laws.
These protect consumers against contract terms that:
would cause a significant imbalance in their rights and obligations under a contract are not reasonably necessary to protect the trader would cause detriment (financial or otherwise) to a consumer.
You must not include terms that allow you to:
change the contract without reference to the consumer avoid responsibility when things go wrong avoid liability for negligence solely determine if the contract has been breached impose fees and charges not related to costs incurred.
If a court finds a term is unfair, that term is treated as if it never existed. If the contract can operate without the unfair term, it will still be binding. Any party to the contract can apply to a court for such a determination.
The unfair contract terms laws do not apply to a contract to supply goods or services, or financial products or services, from one business to another.
National unfair contract terms legislation is part of the Trade Practices Act 1974.