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Property Leases and Licences Policy - Stage 1

We are creating a new Property Leases and Licences Policy and we would like your feedback on the main ideas that will shape our Policy.

Complete our survey here

Why are we creating a Policy?

  • Council currently has no Policy to guide staff or reserve boards involved in negotiating new leases and licences.
  • Having a Policy will help us to create more consistent and fair agreements for the many people, businesses and community organisations who lease or licence Council land or buildings.
  • It will also help us to be reasonably flexible to take into account the different needs of commercial, community and other lessees.

What are we trying to achieve?

Council leases and licences a variety of different buildings and pieces of land across the district. Some are under commercial agreements, some are under community group agreements, and some relate to a mix of commercial and community use. We hope to create a Policy that enables us to reach agreements that allow similar uses on similar types of land for similar purposes to operate under similar rentals and terms. That is not always the case now.

We also need a reasonable level of flexibility in the policy to fairly reflect the variety of circumstances that can apply, even amongst similar groups.

Finally, the scope of the Policy needs to reflect what is legally possible and practicable.

How will this affect my/our current lease or license?

No current lease or licence agreements will be affected. They are still binding on both parties. They can only be changed by mutual agreement, or by agreeing to enter into a new lease or license.  Council staff will be guided by the Policy when negotiating future leases and licences.

How are we going about this consultation?

We are doing this consultation in two different stages. This is Stage 1. This is focussed on the main ideas that will inform the policy, rather than the detail of any written Policy itself. In Stage 1 we are conducting a survey with all our current holders of leases and licences that will be affected by this policy when their lease comes up for review. Holders of perpetual leases, and our residential tenants, will not be affected by this policy.  At the same time, Council is also conducting a survey with its reserve boards, who have responsibility for managing reserves in townships across the district.

In Stage 2, we will seek community feedback on a draft Policy that reflects the main ideas discussed in Stage I, and the survey feedback. At Stage 2  we will again be looking for feedback from lease and licence holders and reserves boards, and we will also invite submissions from the general public.

How is this consultation different?

This is being done in two stages. We would normally consult once, by asking people to give feedback on a draft that had been presented to Council and approved as a draft for consultation. Effectively, we are starting to engage with affected people earlier than we normally would, before Council has approved any draft Policy.

This will:

  • Help us confirm whether our ideas are a fair reflection of what you want, before we ask Council to make any decisions on it.
  • Help us understand the variety of circumstances which you would like to see us take into account.
  • Give the most affected parties two opportunities to have input into the process, informally at a pre-draft stage and formal consultation on a draft policy.

How can I have input into Stage I of the consultation?

You will see a link to a survey document below, seeking your responses to the  key ideas that will inform the Policy.  These ideas are presented under six headings:

Commercial lease agreements

  • A commercial lease means a lease for a commercial, farming, forestry, industrial, retail, rural service, or service activity as defined in the Ashburton District Plan. A lease means granting someone the right to exclusive use of the property. A lease is usually a longer term right than a licence to occupy.

Community lease agreements

  • A community lease means a lease for community activity, emergency services or recreational activity as defined in the Ashburton District Plan. A lease has the meaning above.

Mixed-use lease agreements

  • A mixed-use lease means an agreement that includes BOTH uses under a commercial lease AND uses under a community lease, as defined above.

Small rural reserve leases or licenses

  • A small rural reserve lease or license is a lease or license of Council-owned or managed land zoned Rural A, Rural B or Rural C under the Ashburton District Plan. This land is typically classified for gravel extraction, plantations or other miscellaneous purposes. It excludes land managed under delegation by Reserve Boards and lease-in-perpetuity.

Licences to occupy

  • A licence to occupy means an agreement to occupy land for commercial or community purposes (as defined above)   A licence does not grant the right to exclusive use of the property. A licence is usually for a fixed term and generally shorter than a lease term.

We are accepting feedback until 5pm Sunday 5 December 2021.

Let us know what you think by completing our survey here