Leases & licences

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Leases and licences provide an avenue through which land can be used, either by current owners or whānau in the area, or by other parties. These types of uses are usually for a negotiated period of time, use and rental.

Leases

A lease is an agreement or contract between you and the other owners (or your representatives, such as trustees) and another party or parties, to use land for an agreed use, term and payment of any rentals.

The conditions of any lease, including any restrictions on land use or amount of rental payable, is a matter between you (and the other owners) and the party or parties to the lease.

A lease is a property right under the law. It can be registered against the land, have a title issued for it and finance can be raised against the leasehold.

You must notify us of a lease if:

  • the term is for a period of 21 years or more, including any terms of renewal
  • the term is for a period of more than 52 years or if 1 or more terms of renewal equate to more than 52 years (a long-term lease)
  • a party to any lease obtains a transfer, variation, discharge or surrenders a lease which has a term of over 21 years.

The term of the lease will determine whether or not a registrar will note your documentation, or you will require court approval.

For a lease of less than 52 years we will ask you:

  1. to send us two copies of the lease documents
  2. to file your documents with the court and pay the filing fee of $20. 

Find out more in our forms & fee page

A registrar will update our records and return one copy of the lease to you with our endorsement. No hearing is required.

For a transfer, variation, discharge or surrender of any existing lease, we will ask you:

  1. to send us two copies of the transfer, variation, discharge or surrender
  2. to file your documents with the court and pay the filing fee of $20

A registrar will update our records and return one copy of the transfer, variation, discharge or surrender to you with our endorsement. No hearing is required.

For a lease of more than 52 years (a long-term lease), we will ask you:

  1. to fill in a general application – form 1 [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include:
    1. evidence that you have sought, and received approval, for the long-term lease from at least half of the owners or persons who together own 50% of the land or 50% of the shares (if the land is vested in an incorporation)
  3. to file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $20

A long-term lease must be approved by a judge and a hearing will take place at a venue closest to the land.

Any matters related to the breach of any terms of a lease, by you or any party to that lease, can be heard by a judge, although we would encourage you to seek independent legal advice as to any remedy that may be available to you in these cases.

Contact us for more assistance 

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Licences

A licence is a contract between you and the other owners (or their representatives, such as trustees) which allows a particular activity to occur on your land or part of your land.

Under normal circumstances a licence does not grant the holder any property rights, but instead grants the holder permission to enter the land and use it for a stated purpose.

For example, at a retirement village, a person may be granted a licence to live on the land and in facilities provided and owned by the company managing the home, but they have no legal ownership of that land or the facilities they live in or use.

On Māori land, the most common type of licence is a licence to occupy (LTO).

Unlike standard licences however, an LTO on Māori land may also be considered a special type of lease, which has certain property rights associated with it, especially if the LTO:

  • grants occupation of a defined area or site on land
  • sets a fixed term for the licence
  • has rights of assignment and compensation for improvement
  • provides for the payment of rent and rates.

The conditions of a licence is a matter between you (and the other owners or your representatives) and the party to the licence.

Much like a lease, you must notify us of a licence if:

  • the term is for a period of 21 years or more, including any terms of renewal
  • the term is for a period of more than 52 years or if 1 or more terms of renewal equate to more than 52 years (a long-term licence)
  • a party to any licence obtains a transfer, variation, discharge or surrenders a licence which has a term of over 21 years.

The term of the licence will determine whether or not a registrar will note your documentation, or you will require court approval.

For a licence of less than 52 years we will ask you:

  1. to send us two copies of the licence documents
  2. to file your documents with the court and pay the filing fee of $20

A registrar will update our records and return one copy of the licence to you with our endorsement. No hearing is required.

For a transfer, variation, discharge or surrender of any existing licence, we will ask you:

  1. to send us two copies of the transfer, variation, discharge or surrender
  2. to file your documents with the court and pay the filing fee of $20

A registrar will update our records and return one copy of the transfer, variation, discharge or surrender to you with our endorsement. No hearing is required.

For a licence of more than 52 years (a long-term licence), we will ask you:

  1. to fill in a general application form
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include:
    1. evidence that you have sought, and received approval, for the long-term lease from at least half of the owners or persons who together own 50% of the land or 50% of the shares (if the land is vested in an incorporation)
  3. to file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $20

A long-term licence must be approved by a judge and a hearing will take place at a venue closest to the land.

Any matters related to the breach of any terms of a licence, by you or any party to that licence can be heard by a judge, although we would encourage you to seek independent legal advice as to any remedy that may be available to you in these cases.

Contact us for more assistance

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