Lease, licensing policy: Ballarat City tenants want longer agreements

Tenants renting municipal buildings will soon be restricted to three-year leases under a new Ballarat City Council policy.

A new lease and licencing policy was approved by councillors at a general meeting on November 22.

It has restricted leases to three years for some tenants, including Lake Wendouree boat clubs, Ballarat Airport users, senior citizen clubs and men’s sheds.

The policy has also split the tenants into four categories; not-for-profit and service groups, sporting clubs, boatsheds, and commercial.

Although commercial leases will have options of five years or more, the other three groups have been restricted to three years maximum.

Ballarat City deputy mayor Daniel Moloney said there were few responses when council asked for feedback on the policy, despite the shorter lease periods.

“I had quite a few concerns about the policy, I raised them with the staff and in the media to alert people, but it seems there wasn’t a huge amount of community angst,” he said.

“I had a few boat clubs approach me with concerns, and very little from anyone else.”

Cr Moloney first raised his concerns on August 6, when the proposed policy was put on public exhibition.

Among the responses from tenants were concerns with “no fault” clauses that could see their lease terminated.

Cr Moloney said there had to be a discussion about the sharing of buildings, to make better use of them.

“One of the key challenges we have is there are 700-odd buildings council maintains,” he said.

“The policy doesn’t relate to cohabiting buildings, but additional concerns we have for maintenance requirements do lead us down that path.”