Leasing or hiring land and buildings to third parties

Find out how to lease your school land or buildings to a third party.


As a board of trustees, you can agree to any request to lease or hire out any of your school property. There is no automatic right for third parties to occupy your school property. If you agree, then it must be approved by the Ministry. There are different standard agreements that we provide, depending on the situation.

Your school can be leased or hired out for a variety of reasons such as:

  • community groups hiring the school hall
  • groups wanting to use your playground for after-school care use or weekend sports
  • play groups leasing an empty classroom
  • the council building a community gym on land leased from your school.

When people and organisations use parts of the school, it’s called "third party occupancy". There are certain things you have to do before you can lease or hire out any part of your school.

After the board of trustees have agreed to the lease, you need Ministry consent (a legal requirement under section 70B of the Education Act 1989 (external link) ).

Deal with a proposal

If someone wants to lease or hire part of the school, the board must discuss it and pass a resolution at the next board meeting.

Before agreeing, consider:

  • risks to the school (costs or problems from having people on school property)
  • insurances (property may not be covered if leased out)
  • the future of the school (classrooms may be needed for roll growth)
  • whether you will be committing future boards to long-term agreements (some leases can go for 35 years)
  • day-to-day operations, such as extra pressure on services
  • whether your school community will consider it an acceptable use
  • whether third party staff or employers need to be vetted by the police
  • if the benefits to your school will outweigh inconveniences
  • special rules around Sleepovers in schools

The board must approve before accepting a proposal. The approval must be documented in minutes or a letter.

Get Ministry approval for common situations

Examples of common situations

  • one-off hall hire
  • emergency relief centre
  • after-school care
  • early childhood education
  • night classes
  • using the school pool
  • playgroups
  • council libraries and sports facilities.

Apply for approval

Please save the form to your computer, complete it electronically, then send the saved version to your local Ministry office.

Send it to your local Ministry office.

Ministry considerations

Before approving an application, the Ministry will consider:

  • if your school needs the land and buildings during the term of the agreement
  • if your school needs the property at all (if you’re considering a long-term lease it may be better to dispose of the property)
  • benefits to your school, including any educational benefits (there doesn’t have to be an educational benefit but if the agreement will disadvantage the school it won't be approved)
  • day-to-day operation (for example, administrative support to run a community facility)
  • health and safety issues 
  • ownership (we won’t approve Ministry-owned land or buildings being transferred to a third party)
  • if you can afford to commit some of your own funding if this is proposed (for example, sharing the costs of building a sports facility with your council will need separate approval, see Board funding)
  • if the agreement would commit the Ministry to pay for buildings and facilities we wouldn’t otherwise provide
  • if the agreement is in the public interest and won’t affect the welfare of the general public (if this is a concern, you should consider consulting with your community before applying for consent from the Ministry)
  • that the board has approved the occupation (supplied board minutes or letter approving occupancy).

For some situations your local council will need to grant a resource content or a specific licence (in addition to Ministry consent) for the proposed activity (for example, a vegetable market). It is your responsibility to ensure that all council requirements are met.

Sign the agreement

If we approve the proposal, we will send you an agreement to complete with the third party.

You must use our agreement and cannot make changes to it, other than to complete the schedule with details like the names, term and rent.

There are 3 types of agreements:

  1. Land lease – where the third party provides their own building on the school grounds.
  2. Building lease – where a third party has the sole use of a school building.
  3. Shared use licence – where a school and a third party share a building, for example, the school pool.

We have specific agreements for some uses (such as early childhood services). We will send you the one that suits.

You and the third party must sign 3 copies and return them to us. We will sign our consent (we are not a party to the agreement) and send you back a fully signed copy.

The agreement is recorded by the Ministry.

Get approval for specific situations

There are 3 specific lease situations that have different approval processes and agreements:

1. Casual use agreement

Casual use agreements are for occasional use (for example, the local rugby club uses the school field once a week for practice, someone wants to hire your hall for an event, or your school will be used as a polling centre on election day).

You don’t need Ministry consent to enter into a casual use situation (but contact us if you’re unsure if it is such a situation).

It’s important you have the right agreement as they have different terms for things like insurance and costs.

2. Internet access agreements

Internet access agreements let an internet service provider (ISP) use the school’s ultrafast broadband to provide community access.

The annexures are technical and must be fully completed. You will need your ISP to fill this out. Our Technology in Schools team will review it.

If the ISP wants to set up equipment at your school:

3. Dental clinic agreements

A separate process and several different agreements apply when District Health Boards run oral health services at your school.

Renew an agreement

To renew an agreement, submit the following to your local Ministry office:

  • completed Approval in Principle form (remember to tick "renewal") (download above)
  • board minutes (or letter approving occupancy)

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