The reference Policy and guidelines for the use of owned and private-sector leased government office accommodation (included with the Office Accommodation Management Framework as a supporting document) describes the Cabinet-approved procedures, responsibilities and obligations involved in vacating government office space generally.
The Occupancy agreement for government accommodation between the Department of Housing and Public Works (HPW) and agencies (included with this guideline as a supporting document) incorporates the procedures, responsibilities and obligations in relation to vacating space in government-owned and -leased buildings.
The processes involved in changes to tenancy areas including additional area, area reduction or vacating a tenancy, are also described in Guideline 2: Space.
10.2 Government-owned and -leased buildings
In general terms, agencies are required to give HPW advance notice of a proposal to vacate space. The purpose of this notice is to allow a reasonable time to locate a replacement occupant for the space, thereby minimising any ongoing rental obligation for the vacating agency and maximising the utilisation of these buildings.
The periods of advance notice required are at least 6 months for areas up to 1000m2 and at least 12 months for areas over 1000 m2. In accordance with the occupancy agreement, the period for ongoing rent obligation will be determined by the Queensland Government Accommodation Office (QGAO) as that period which represents the time reasonably required to obtain a new occupant for the space to be vacated. During this time, QGAO will take all reasonable steps to secure a new occupant. The occupant’s rental continuity will cease at the time that the new occupant’s rental commences, or upon expiry of the notified period for continuity of rent, whichever is the sooner.
Agencies are required to ‘make good’ the tenanted space. This means that the tenancy area must be reinstated to the condition it was in immediately prior to the initial occupancy, less fair wear and tear. Normally, making good involves removing agencies’ property, repainting, repairing any damage and leaving the space clean and tidy. In private-sector leased buildings, adequate time must be left for all make good work, which must be completed prior to the lease expiry date.
Failure to vacate leased premises after first having made good prior to lease expiry exposes the tenant agency to very substantial claims by the building owner for ongoing rent, damages and other costs.
In certain circumstances, HPW may require an agency to vacate accommodation. These reasons may include sale of the building, expiry of a lease, the need to reallocate the accommodation as part of a strategic planning process, a machinery-of-government change, changes to Ministerial portfolios, default in payments or breach of occupancy conditions.
When the requirement to vacate is necessary to achieve a strategic planning outcome or is due to a government-initiated change, HPW will locate suitable alternative accommodation for the agency and may fund, or contribute to, the reasonable cost of relocation. HPW will endeavour to provide at least 6 months’ notice to an agency to vacate accommodation.
If agencies are required to vacate due to breach or default, then the matter will require resolution through negotiation with the private sector landlord.