Leasing and hiring land and buildings

Further reading is essential to understand your responsibilities and requirements.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • Boards
  • Proprietors
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Property Managers

This directory links to information relating to school land or buildings, easements (the right to use someone else’s land for a specific purpose) and school sites leased from iwi. 


When people and organisations use parts of the school, it is called third party occupancy.

With consent from the Secretary for Education, a board can agree to a request to lease or hire out any school property. There is no automatic right for third parties to occupy schools, so they should not start to get plans drawn for a building or start using the school property, until a proposal has been approved by the Ministry.

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

  • community groups hiring the school hall
  • groups wanting to use school property for after-school care or weekend sports
  • early childhood education centres leasing an empty classroom.

Before agreeing to any proposal, the board needs to consider:

  • risks to the school (costs or problems from having people on school property)
  • insurances (property may not be covered if leased out)
  • whether you'll be committing future boards to long-term agreements that may put extra pressure on school resources
  • whether the proposal is in the public interest, has an educational or community benefit, and brings no disadvantage to the school
  • if the benefits to your school will outweigh inconveniences.

Easements affecting school land

An easement is the right to use someone else’s land for a specific purpose. Sometimes schools have easements across their grounds, or require easements over a neighbour’s land. Easements are usually permanent.

Easements affecting school land

Lease agreements and application process

We provide different standard agreements depending on the situation. Only a Ministry standard agreement can be used.

Lease agreements and application process

Early learning services

As a school board, you can agree to an early learning service setting up at your school. You'll need our consent and we'll provide a standard lease agreement covering the service’s use of your land or buildings.

Early childhood education services on school sites

Civil defence emergency relief

Schools can elect to be a relief centre in an emergency. Many schools have agreements with other organisations about being a relief centre.

Civil defence emergency relief at schools

Dental clinics at schools

District Health Boards (DHBs) provide oral health services at many schools. You might have a permanent clinic at your school, one that is built by the DHB or one that is run by a private contractor. All are covered by standard agreements between the board and the DHB.

Dental clinics at schools

Legitimate use of surplus property

If you have surplus property, you may be able to lease it to others for legitimate uses. The Ministry must approve this. You will need an agreement to cover the other organisation’s use of your surplus space.

Legitimate use of surplus school property

Fire safety for school sleepovers

Students or non-school groups might want to have a sleepover at your school. The board will need a written agreement with the group having the sleepover. Any area used for sleeping must meet certain fire safety requirements.

Fire safety for school sleepovers

School sites leased from iwi

The Government has made it a priority to settle historic Treaty of Waitangi claims. 

School sites leased from iwi

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback