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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > Facilities > Facilities for government > Office Accommodation Management Framework > Guideline 4: Occupancy > 11.0 Vacating a tenancy

11.0 Vacating a tenancy

11.1 General

The reference Policy and guidelines for the use of owned and private-sector leased government office accommodation (PDF, 164KB) (included with the OAMF as a supporting document) describes the Cabinet-approved procedures, responsibilities and obligations involved in vacating government office space generally.

The Occupancy Agreement for government accommodation between Department of Housing and Public Works and agencies (PDF, 182KB) (included with this guideline as a supporting document) incorporates the procedures, responsibilities and obligations in relation to vacating space in government-owned and ‘Major Leased’ buildings specifically. Similar information covering ‘Other Leased’ buildings is contained in each lease agreement for private sector leased buildings.

The processes involved in changes to tenancy areas including additional area, area reduction or vacating a tenancy are also described in Guideline 2: Space.

11.2 Government-owned and ‘Major Leased’ buildings

In general terms, agencies are required to give the Department of Housing and Public Works (HPW) advance notice of a proposal to vacate space in government-owned or ‘Major Leased’ office buildings controlled by that department. The purpose of this notice is to allow a reasonable time to locate a replacement tenant for the space, thereby minimising any ongoing rental obligation for the vacating agency and maximising the utiisation of these buildings.

The periods of advance notice required are at least 6 months for areas up to 1000 square metres and at least 12 months for areas over 1000 square metres. In accordance with the Occupancy Agreement shown in the Space management guideline, the period for ongoing rent obligation reflects the time reasonably required to obtain a new tenant for the space vacated. This period will normally be no more than twelve (12) months from the tenant’s formal vacation date, and all reasonable steps will be taken to secure a new tenant.

Agencies are required to ‘make good’ the tenanted space. This means that the tenancy area must be reinstated to the condition it was in immediately prior to the initial occupancy, less fair wear and tear. Normally, making good involves removing agencies’ property (including fitout), repainting, repairing any damage and leaving the space clean and tidy. In certain circumstances, HPW may negotiate with an incoming tenant to take over all or part of an existing fitout. This outcome saves the vacating agency the cost of make good and saves the incoming agency some fitout costs. Financial adjustments may apply and adjustment of agencies’ asset registers may be required. HPW may assist in relation to financial matters and asset registration.

In certain circumstances, HPW may require an agency to vacate accommodation. These reasons may include sale of the building, expiry of a lease in a ‘Major Leased’ building, the need to reallocate the accommodation as part of a strategic planning process, a machinery-of-government change, changes to Ministerial portfolios, default in payments or breach of occupancy conditions.

When the requirement to vacate is necessary to achieve a strategic planning outcome or is due to a government-initiated change, then HPW will locate suitable alternative accommodation for the agency and may fund, or contribute to, the reasonable cost of relocation. HPW will endeavour to provide at least six months notice to an agency to vacate accommodation.

If agencies are required to vacate due to breach or default, then the matter will require resolution through negotiation with the private sector landlord or through referral to the Government Office Accommodation Committee.

11.3 ‘Other Leased’ buildings

At the expiry of a private sector lease, agencies are generally required to make good the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted, generally as described above, but specifically in accordance with the lease conditions. However, care must be taken to check any specific conditions within each lease agreement. The Department of Housing and Public Works (HPW), as part of its lease management service, will negotiate with the landlord with a view to minimising or avoiding agencies’ make good costs.

Agencies that vacate space in ‘Other Leased’ buildings prior to the end of the lease must continue to pay rent and any other legitimate charges until the lease expires unless a replacement tenant can be found, or the space is sub-leased or assigned. Ongoing payment must be paid until the replacement tenant commences to pay full rent and all other tenancy charges. If the replacement tenant (by agreement) is to pay only part of the rent and charges required under the lease, then the agency that vacated the space must contribute the balance. Make good arrangements remain the responsibility of the original agency unless an alternative agreement is reached with the incoming tenant.

HPW will not fund or contribute to ongoing rent or other costs if an agency vacates space prior to lease expiry.

Agencies are required to pay all rent and charges for the whole of the lease period and vacate the leased premises on or before the lease expiry date. Adequate time must be left for all make good work, which must be completed prior to the lease expiry date.

Failure to vacate leased premises after first having made good prior to lease expiry exposes the tenant agency to very substantial claims by the landlord for ongoing rent, damages and other costs.

If an agency requires an extension of its occupancy in existing accommodation due to special circumstances, then HPW will negotiate with the landlord to achieve the best available terms.

If the extended term is of a relatively short duration, it is possible that the rental negotiated may be substantially in excess of prevailing market levels.

Last updated 01 September 2015    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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