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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Perpetual-lease System

Perpetual-lease System.

Application.—Sections are put up to application at an upset price per acre, the rental being fixed at 5 per cent, on such upset price, and any person seventeen years of age and upwards may apply for any such section.

Applications must be accompanied by a statutory declaration in form provided (see Schedule I.), together with six months' rent at the rate of 5 per cent, on the capital value, and £1 1 os. for the lease and registration thereof.

More than one section may be applied for by one person at the same time, so long as they are contiguous sections.

When no application for any section is received at the time fixed for receipt thereof, any person may at any time thereafter apply for any of such sections, and be declared the lessee at the upset rental, upon complying with the other conditions as to application.

Limit of Holding.—No person is qualified to become a lessee who owns or occupies, including the land proposed to be leased by him, more than 640 acres of first-class land or 2,000 acres of second-class land, or is capable of holding more than one lease, unless the lands adjoin. Leases held otherwise are to be forfeited and become absolutely void.

Execution, &c., of Leases.—Leases are prepared and executed by the Commissioner of Crown Lands, and, after page 36 execution by the lessee, are registered by the Commissioner under the Land Transfer Acts. They must be executed by the lessee within thirty days, if ready, or within fifteen days of their being ready, otherwise the sums deposited with the application will be forfeited.

Term of Lease, Rent, &c.—The term is fixed so as to expire on the 30th June, thirty years after commencement.

The rent is payable half-yearly in advance, on the 1st January and the 1st July, to the Receiver of Land Revenue.

The lessee is liable for all rates, taxes, and assessments.

Transfers, Mortgages, &c.—No transferee, sublessee, mortgagee, trustee in bankruptcy, or officer of a Court may take possession until statutory declarations, in form in the Schedule hereto, have been deposited with the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

Surrenders.—Lease may be surrendered with the consent of the Board, whereupon valuation by arbitration is to be made as if the lease was about to be determined by effluxion of time; but it will not be competent, for a period of three years, for the person surrendering to become in any way the lessee under the new lease.

Residence.—Residence on the land leased must commence within six months of the beginning of the term, and continue for six consecutive years; but may be dispensed with altogether in case of bush or swamp lands, or if the selector makes double the amount of improvements required, or for three years in case of youths residing with their parents or relatives, and also altogether if lessee resides on land contiguous to leasehold. Lands shall be deemed to be contiguous which are only separated by a road or stream.

Youths who may become lessees, and who are living within the provincial district, and are residing with their parents page 37 or near relatives, need not reside until three years after the commencement of the term.

When any two lessees intermarry residence may be dispensed with on the part of either of such lessees on the lands comprised in one of the leases.

Improvements.—Every lessee must, within one year from the date of his lease, when the lands are first-class, culti-not less than one-twentieth; within two years, not less than one-tenth; within four years not less than one-fifth of the land leased; and within six years, in addition to such cultivation, put thereon "substantial improvements of a permanent character" to the value of £1 for every acre. In the case of second-class lands the lessee must expend in substantial improvements 10 per cent, of the price of the land within twelve months, 20 per cent, within two years, and 30 per cent, within six years of date of selection.

The term "substantial improvements of a permanent character" means and includes reclamation from swamps, clearing of bush or scrub, cultivation, planting with trees or live hedges, the laying-out and cultivation of gardens, fencing, draining, making roads, sinking wells or water-tanks, constructing water-races, or in any way improving the character or fertility of the soil, or the erection of any building.

Right of Purchase.—After the improvement-conditions have been fulfilled, and the land leased is outside goldfields, or does not form portion of an educational or endowment reserve, the lessee may acquire the freehold at the price fixed when the lease was granted.

Renewals.—Three years and six months before the expiration of the term, valuation by arbitration is to be made of the fee-simple of the land and of improvements: and three months before such expiration the lessee must notify whether or not he elects to accept a renewal for a page 38 further term of twenty-one years, at a rental of 5 per cent, on the gross value of the land as fixed by the arbitration, "after deducting the value of the substantial improvements of a permanent character." (For particulars of the provisions as to renewals, arbitration, and precedure in case of lessee declining to accept renewal, &c., see sections 151, 152, and 153 of "The Land Act, 1885.")

Default.—In default of payment of rent or performance of other conditions for sixty days, or on conviction of making false declaration, the lease may be determined in a summary way, in which case the lease and all improvements revert to the Crown without any payment to the lessee.

Exchange of Leases.—Leases of rural lands under Land or Mines Acts may, if land proclaimed under the Act of 1882, be exchanged for leases under the last-mentioned Act.

Resumption of Land for Public Purposes.—The whole or any portion of the land included in a lease may be resumed for public purposes, or which may be deemed to be auriferous or argentiferous. Upon resumption rent to be proportionally reduced, and the lessee to be entitled to compensation for substantial improvements which may have been made on land resumed Lessee may also surrender severed land if in his opinion it has been so severed from the rest of the land included in his lease as to greatly diminish its value.