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As a tenant, once you sign the commercial lease, you may want to register it for future ease. Registering a lease greatly reduces the risk of future problems, particularly regarding changes of ownership of the land relating to the lease. 

In contrast to Australia, where most jurisdictions require registration of commercial leases with terms greater than three years, in New Zealand, registration is voluntary and is not common practice. It is also uncommon to seek mortgagee approval for a commercial lease.

However, suppose you have a long term lease and a significant fit-out or other investment in the premises. In that case, it is in your interest to require proof of mortgagee consent and consider seeking registration of the lease. This article will outline a registered lease and where and how to register a lease in New Zealand.

What is a Registered Lease?

A registered lease is any lease registered under the land title register. You may register a lease to ensure that you have possession and access to the land. Under the Land Transfer Act, you need a lease instrument to register the lease. The instrument must have all the necessary information, and either you or your landlord can execute it. 

A registered lease can protect your interests, as a registered lease is a binding contract between you and the landlord. The landlord will need to abide by the specified lease terms, and if they sell the property, you can still access and use the commercial property. Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) handles all registrations of land and leases.

Where to Register a Commercial Lease

You can register your lease with LINZ, although there are several steps to take. Once you submit your application and provide the correct forms, LINZ will review your application and register the lease. You can either register a lease electronically or manually.

Electronic Registration

First, to register a lease with LINZ, you need to prepare your lease instruments. An instrument is a document, contract, or agreement that will provide evidence of your commercial lease agreement. You can add up to 50 instruments in your dealing.

Your lawyer or licensed practitioner must sign the dealing. You will also need to sign an authority and instruction form under the Land Transfer Act to prove that all details are accurate. Your lawyer will also need to verify your identity. You can download the authority and instruction form from the New Zealand Society’s Property Law Section website. 

Next, in some scenarios, you will need to provide consent to your lawyer so they can complete the registration of the instrument. Consent is a legal requirement to ensure that anyone with an existing interest in the title record:

  • is aware of any registration or transaction that may affect their interest;
  • is not disadvantaged by the transaction without their knowledge or consent; and,
  • has agreed to any change to the title record that may affect their interest. 

Once you have completed the appropriate forms and have given consent, you must certify and sign your instruments. You must verify all information is correct before signing. After signing the instrument, you can submit your dealing with LINZ electronically, who will review your dealing and proceed to register your lease. 

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Manual Registration

When submitting a manual dealing, you must prepare legal documentation and deliver all documents to LINZ’s Hamilton or Christchurch office. If you made your lease instrument under the Land Transfer Act, then it must include:

  • the term of the lease;
  • the rent payable under the lease; and,
  • other terms of the lease.

Your lawyer may need to certify your paper instrument. When you sign the instrument, your signature will need to be witnessed by someone who is not a party of the lease instrument and can establish your identity.

The witness will need to provide a statutory declaration confirming that:

  • you signed the instrument in the presence of the witness;
  • the witness signed the instrument;
  • the witness knows you and can establish your identity; and,
  • you appear to be of sound mind and can sign the lease voluntarily.

Once you have signed the instrument, you can fill in the manual dealing lodgement form. The form will need to include your:

  • full name;
  • email address;
  • postal address;
  • phone number;
  • rejected dealing number if you are resubmitting your dealing;
  • title reference;
  • type of instrument;
  • names of parties; and,
  • instrument fees.

You can then send your instruments and lodgement form to LINZ, who will review your documents. If everything is correct and meets legal requirements, your lease will be registered.

Key Takeaways

You can register your lease with LINZ either electronically or manually, with both having their own procedures. You will need to certify and sign your instrument with a witness and fill out other appropriate forms. Then, you can submit your dealing to LINZ, who will review it and register your lease. A lease registration can protect your interests in the commercial property and ensure that you can use and access the property even if the landlord sells the property. 

If you need legal help to register your lease, you can contact our leasing lawyers, who can help as part of our LegalVision membership. You will have unlimited access to lawyers who can answer your questions and draft and review your documents for a low monthly fee. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a registered lease?

A registered lease is a lease under the land title register with LINZ. Having a registered lease protects your right to possession and use of the property and land. Even if the landlord sells the property or leases out a part of the property to a new tenant, your rights will continue. 

Where can I register my commercial lease?

You can register your lease with LINZ electronically, or manually submit a dealing. You will need a lease instrument as evidence of the lease agreement and other appropriate forms, such as a lodgement or authorisation form. Once you complete and sign all forms, you can submit your dealing for LINZ to approve to register your lease.

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