Tenure obligations and responsibilities

Find information on lease or licence tenure obligations and responsibilities for Brisbane City Council properties.

Understanding your lease/licence agreement terms and conditions

Your committee and/or anyone responsible for managing and maintaining your premises should:

  • be aware your organisation has a lease or licence arrangement with Council
  • have a good understanding of the terms and conditions of your agreement.

The terms and conditions of your lease/licence agreement outline:

  • permitted times and use/s of the premises
  • fees and charges
  • required insurances
  • other tenant rights and obligations.

Your agreement also includes a survey plan of your lease/licence boundary.

You should keep a copy of your current agreement in an accessible location, where committee members and employees can refer to it.

Your lease/licence agreement should be used to develop your organisation's policies and procedures and should be the basis of any sub lease/user group arrangements.

To obtain a copy of your current lease/licence agreement, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Tenant responsibilities 

Leases

As a Council tenant with a lease, your responsibilities are to:

  • pay your bills including lease preparation fees, Council's annual rent, expenses identified in your lease (e.g. electricity, rates, water consumption and sewerage)
  • hold current insurance policies including $20 million in public liability insurance and building insurance if you have a building/s
  • keep the premises clean and tidy and in good repair in all circumstances
  • repair all damage to the premises caused by the lessee or the use of the premises
  • undertake regular operational maintenance (e.g. replace light globes, cut grass, paint, clean and remove rubbish)
  • conduct repairs and annual safety checks
  • undertake annual inspections including electrical, pest and smoke alarms
  • appoint a community liaison officer, develop a process to resolve complaints, and get involved in communicating with your local community
  • comply with all local, state and federal laws
  • use the facility for the purpose, and during the times, outlined in your lease
  • obtain prior written consent from Council to make any changes or undertake any building work, display signs or notices, erect or remove fencing, trim or remove trees and shrubs, or carry out earthworks to the premises
  • seal and maintain any area of the premises used for parking
  • complete the annual Community facilities census online form and provide copies of certificates of currency, licences, annual financial report and constitution
  • meet with Council to discuss tenure renewal and how Council can best support your organisation to be sustainable
  • respond to Council requests for information.

Licences

As a Council tenant with a licence, your responsibilities are to:

  • pay your bills including licence preparation fees, Council's annual rent and expenses identified in your licence (e.g. electricity)
  • hold current insurance policies including $20 million in public liability insurance
  • keep the premises clean and tidy and in good repair in all circumstances
  • repair all damage to the premises caused by the licensee or the use of the premises
  • appoint a community liaison officer, develop a process to resolve complaints, and get involved in communicating with your local community
  • comply with all local, state and federal laws
  • use the facility for the purpose, and during the times, outlined in your licence
  • obtain prior written consent from Council to make any changes or undertake any building work, display signs or notices, erect or remove fencing, trim or remove trees and shrubs, or carry out earthworks to the premises
  • complete the annual Community facilities Census online form and provide copies of certificates of currency, licences, annual financial report and constitution
  • meet with Council to discuss tenure renewal and how Council can best support your organisation to be sustainable
  • respond to Council requests for information.

Seasonal licences

As a Council tenant with a seasonal licence, your responsibilities are to:

  • pay your Council seasonal licence fees
  • hold current insurance policies including $20 million in public liability insurance
  • use the facility for the purpose, and during the times, outlined in your seasonal licence
  • leave the premises clean and tidy
  • respond to Council requests for information.

Closed landfill sites

Council tenants, including sub-lessees, on closed landfill sites, are responsible for protecting their members and other users of the site from environmental and health risks. Read about closed landfill management for information on tenant responsibilities on close landfill sites.

Keeping Council informed as a tenant

You should contact Council when:

  • there are changes to your management committee and/or contact information
  • you are planning improvements or works to your leased premises
  • unexpected changes occur to the condition of your premises occurs (e.g. significant storm damage, vandalism, illegal dumping)
  • your organisation is experiencing difficulty meeting the terms and conditions of the lease/licence
  • the financial position of your organisation is declining and/or a threat to your operations
  • you need assistance managing your organisation (e.g. lack of committee members, issues with other user groups)
  • you are proposing to take on a sub user
  • you believe the sustainability of your organisation is under threat.

To change your organisation's contact details, complete the Committee update online form.

Prior to undertaking any improvements or development works to a community lease site, you need to apply for Council (as landlord) approval.

Obtaining Council approval

As a Council tenant, you need to seek Council approval before you:

As well as Council's approval as your landlord (which you must obtain first), you may also need other Council licences and permits for your operations, such as food and event permits, or development assessment or building approval for development and infrastructure changes to your leased premises.

With regard to development and infrastructure changes to leased premises, you will need to go through the same approval process as if you were making the changes on private land. Planning application and development assessment fees may apply. Development assessment fees do not include infrastructure charges which may also apply depending on the works you are proposing to do. In the case of staged developments, each development stage is classed as a separate development application for fee purposes. Visit our planning and building section to access more information about the development application process, types of applications, how to lodge development applications, and how to avoid assessment delays.

Visit our laws and permits section to access more information on permits and licences issued by Council, including food licencing, advertising signs, using roads and footpaths and more.

If you are located on a closed landfill site, you should seek Council advice on other measures you may need to take when managing the site.

Annual census

All tenants are required to complete an annual Community Facilities Census online form. Copies of all current insurance certificates, your most recent audited financials, annual general meeting (AGM) minutes, constitution, licences (if applicable) and any strategic/facility plans your organisation has are to be provided as part of completing the form.

The annual Community Facilities Census collects key information about participation in community and sport and recreation activities across Brisbane and provides Council with an understanding of how it can further support tenants to provide their services. The census may also assist your organisation to identify potential opportunities for increased facility use and revenue generation.

Normally the census is undertaken each February/March. Council notified all tenants when the census is required to be completed and provides a link to the online form for completion.

If you are experiencing issues opening your Community Facilities Census online form, or need help completing the form, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Important documents and records management

Council related documents

Your committee and/or all persons responsible for managing and maintaining your lease/licence premises should be aware of, understand, and have access to the following Council related documents to refer to as needed:

  • lease/licence agreement
  • survey plan of the premises
  • Good Neighbours Guide
  • latest building condition audit report (applies to leaseholders only)
  • latest asbestos condition audit report (if applicable)
  • latest sports field condition audit report (if you have sports fields)
  • landfill lessee guide (if you are on a closed landfill site)
  • sports precinct/master plan (if you are located within a planned precinct)
  • application for works approval letters (if applicable)
  • development assessment approval letters (if you are undertaking development works).

To obtain a copy of any of the above documents relating to your organisation, and further advice on how you should refer to them, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Records management

In addition to the above documents that may apply to your lease/licence with Council, your organisation should have a records management process and store all operating documents in a central data system that is accessible to the whole committee and transferred to the next committee. Such documents include:

  • constitution
  • certificate of incorporation
  • insurance certificates and policies
  • audited financial statements
  • budget
  • annual general meeting (AGM) reports and committee meeting minutes
  • strategic/business plans
  • facility development plans
  • gaming, liquor and food licences (if applicable)
  • policy and procedures documents 
  • position descriptions
  • lists of organisation web and social media sites, logins and passwords
  • contracts and agreements (e.g. suppliers, sponsors, affiliations, employment)
  • facilities key register
  • membership/player registers
  • key contacts list.

Keep old documents in physical form as needed (for record-keeping such as the Australian Taxation Office) and scan the relevant documents you want to keep and put them into your central data system.

Use of the premises

As a Council tenant, you must ensure you:

  • use the premises for the purpose/s detailed in your lease/licence agreement, and only during the permitted operating hours specified
  • comply with all laws.

The premises are not to be used for any other purpose, or at any other times, without the prior written consent of Council.

Council may enter the premises at any time in cases of emergency.

If you are unsure of your agreed purpose/s of use and permitted operating hours, refer to your lease/licence agreement.

If you wish to use the premises to conduct any other activities, you must first obtain Council written approval to do so.

As a tenant, it is your responsibility to ensure that the premises are not used for any activities which may be illegal, or a nuisance, disturbance, or annoyance to any person, or interfere with any service to the premises. In addition, activities that are considered inconsistent with the purpose of the permitted use are not to be conducted on the premises.

To obtain a copy of your current lease/licence agreement, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Public access to community leased land

Tenants are granted a lease over the premises for the purpose of conducting the activities detailed in their lease agreement and other community activities first approved by Council. The legal nature of any lease gives a tenant the right to exclusive use of the leased land.

While a lease grants exclusive use to the tenant, Council encourages its community lessees who are located in parkland and/or have sports fields, to allow their open space areas to be enjoyed and accessed by the public. Tenants are expected to be supportive of the public accessing their leased premises when they are not using it for their activities.

Tenants can restrict access to areas such as sports fields if they are being remediated or rested. In some cases, Council may also give a tenant permission to restrict public access to areas that are being kept to a high standard to conduct high-level competitions.

Some tenants may experience regular use by organised groups. These groups should be encouraged to enter into an appropriate usage arrangement with the tenant, to enable them to continue to manage and maintain the premises. The usage agreement should include such things as agreed usage times, and, where appropriate, a reasonable usage fee.

This approach is supported by Council to balance the tenant's legal rights (including the right to quiet enjoyment of the land without the interference of the lessor) and activity needs with Council's expectations for public access.

Fees and charges

Fees and charges apply to Council community facilities tenants and vary depending on the type of tenure.

Lease agreement

Tenants with a lease agreement are normally responsible for paying:

  • lease preparation costs including stamp duty, survey costs, registration fees and any other legal fees
  • Council annual rent (as outlined in Council's schedule of fees and charges)
  • Council rates (only waste management and Queensland Government emergency management levy)
  • minimum water rates, excess water charges, water meter rental, minimum sewerage rate, and cleansing dues
  • service costs including electricity, gas (if applicable), internet access and telephone
  • all insurance expenses
  • any operating licence and permit costs
  • development assessment fees and infrastructure charges (if you're expanding and/or developing new facilities)
  • any other charges or levies assessed on, or payable in respect of, the premises.

Licence agreement

Tenants with a licence agreement are normally responsible for paying:

  • licence preparation costs including stamp duty, survey costs, registration fees and any other legal fees
  • Council annual rent (as outlined in Council's schedule of fees and charges)
  • service costs including electricity, gas (if applicable), internet access and telephone
  • all insurance expenses
  • any operating licence and permit costs
  • any other charges or levies assessed on, or payable in respect of, the premises.

In addition, if you have a licence over a cricket field, you are also responsible for the preparation of the wicket or wickets.

Seasonal licence

Tenants with a seasonal licence are normally responsible for paying:

Failure to pay annual rent charges and other relevant expenses is a major breach of the lease/licence agreement and if not resolved may result in Council terminating the agreement.

To find out your annual rental or seasonal licence fee, refer to your Council agreement, or download the latest Council Schedule of Fees and Charges to find fees and charges for community organisations.

Insurances, indemnity and exclusion of liability

All community facilities tenants must have adequate public liability insurance and other coverage as appropriate for their operations such as building and professional indemnity insurance.

Visit our insurances, indemnity and exclusion of liability page for more information about the types of insurance requirements, managing insurance, and what to do if you want to make a claim.

Permits and licences

As well as Council's approval as your landlord (which you must obtain first), you may also need other Council or Queensland Government licences and permits for your operations such as liquor, gaming, food, and event permits.

Maintenance and development of the premises

Under Council's standard lease/licence terms and conditions, tenants are responsible for keeping the premises clean, tidy and in good repair and repairing any damage to the premises caused by the tenant or the use of the premises under the lease/licence agreement.

Council can provide advice to your organisation on managing and maintaining your leased/licensed premises, however, you may need approval if you want to make any changes, including upgrades and advertising.

Visit the Application for works on a community lease site page for further details on works that require approval and how to obtain Council approval.

Maintenance and development plan (leaseholders only)

As part of the establishment or renewal of a lease, and depending on your tenure arrangements, you may be required to provide Council with a maintenance and development plan.

Good neighbour practices

As the custodian or owner of community facilities, Council must ensure the facilities are managed and operated appropriately to minimise disruption to neighbours and the nearby community. 

Subscribing to good neighbour practices is a requirement of all community facility tenure arrangements with Council.

Good neighbour practices involve three key steps:

  • nominating a community liaison officer
  • developing a process to deal with and resolve complaints in a way that satisfies your organisation, the complainant and Council
  • getting involved in and openly communicating with your local community.

If any issues do arise, your organisation's relationship with residents and businesses should allow the issue to be resolved quickly to the satisfaction of all parties.

As a tenant, you need to nominate a community liaison officer (CLO) – a person within your organisation who accepts responsibility for leading its liaison with neighbours and the local community. Given the importance of the role, the CLO should be a committee member or senior member of your organisation.

Neighbours should be considered an important part of your organisation's network. Integrating your activities with your neighbours and community will provide your organisation with ongoing benefits such as quick and successful conflict resolution, fewer complaints and disputes, and increased patronage leading to a greater sense of community.

Any breach of the good neighbour practices is considered a minor breach of Council's lease/licence agreement.

For more information on the CLO role, the process for handling complaints and how to get involved in your local community, download the Good Neighbours Guide (Word - 95kb).

Bikeway/road surrender

Occasionally, Council may require a tenant to surrender its lease/licence, or part thereof, for road widening or bikeway purposes. If Council services such a notice on a tenant, it is expected the tenant will do everything necessary to cooperate with Council and surrender the lease/licence as required.

Car parking, driveways and traffic management

Vehicles should not be driven on sports fields or any other areas of leased/licensed premises that are not designated for car parking unless your organisation has a specific arrangement in place with Council. The only exception to this is emergency vehicles.

If you have a lease agreement with Council, you are responsible for maintaining and repairing any area of the premises agreed to be used for parking and any driveways from the kerb and channel on the road through to the property boundary of the premises.

More information

For further advice on community facility tenure obligations and responsibilities, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Last updated: 11 June 2021