If you are a landlord or a tenant of any commercial premises, it is important for you to be aware of potential legal pitfalls which could ultimately cause you to be significantly penalised. One such pitfall to be mindful of is the need for certain leases of land to have Western Australia Planning Commission (”WAPC”) approval pursuant to the Planning and Development Act (WA) 2005.

 Leases of land with a term exceeding 20 years

This Act provides that, subject to some exceptions, generally leases of land with a term exceeding 20 years (including further options) require Western Australia Planning Commission approval.
The Western Australia Planning Commission introduced this requirement because a lease over a portion of land which exceeds a term of 20 years could be considered a subdivision of the land. The Act does provide that a lease of any duration can exist without WAPC approval if it is exempted under the Act.

Contravening the requirement for approval 

It is very important to know whether your lease, which exceeds a term of 20 years (including further options) has either been exempt under the Act or alternatively, has received WAPC approval.

If such a lease does not meet the legal requirements under the Act, a person who contravenes the requirement for approval commits an offence which could incur a fine of $200,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further fine of $25 000 for each day during which the offence continues.


Should you have any queries in relation to the status of your lease, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Bruce Havilah

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