What is being proposed

Review of policies and procedures relating to Council’s leasing and licensing includes the current Property Occupancy Policy 2019, based on the Victorian Local Government Act 1989.

With the updating of our state’s Local Government Act 2020, our current Policy requires review.

The Property Occupancy Policy was due for review in November 2022. This has now occurred, and its new title is the “Property Leasing and Licensing Policy”.

The updated Policy now clearly explains Council’s approach to leasing and licensing for the community and clarifies the guidelines and procedures for establishing a lease.

The reviewed Draft Policy is designed to be an overarching document that will cover all forms of leasing and licensing by the Council, relevant to the management of its property portfolio, on behalf of the community.

List of changes:

Currently called Property Occupancy Policy

Property Leasing and Licensing Policy

Ensures the focus of managing the properties remains on consistent and appropriate leasing and licensing arrangements which clearly articulate the roles and responsibilities of Council and lessees/licensees. Reinforces the formal and accountable nature of agreements to use assets held by Council on the Community’s behalf.

Clarifies that all agreements to use Council buildings are necessarily in the form of a license (even if it is known by another name such as “seasonal agreement”) or lease.

Further, an ”occupant” may not be the license or lease holder, so the title clarifies the scope of and responsibilities in the policy.

Current policy includes operational procedures.

Procedures removed to leave a document that sets out the principles under which licences and leases will be entered into.

Procedures such as insurance requirements, inspections, maintenance procedures, management of keys, etc, may change more or less frequently.

These will be included in guidelines under development. Prevents rapid redundancy of the policy.

Rental categories are included in a complex and highly specific matrix.

Principles for the classification of different users will be included in the policy, but calculations for fees and rents will be included in the guidelines, to be approved annually.

Prevents the policy rapidly becoming redundant and allows agility in the Council responding to regulatory or market changes.

Council still has visibility over fees annually through the budget process, and the calculation methodology for determining discount off market rates.

Residential tenancies not addressed

Legal obligations on managing residential tenancies addressed at 4.3

Confirms Council’s obligations to comply with residential tenancy law where applicable and articulates the role of Council in order to manage risk related to such tenancies.