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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 56

Conditional Leasehold

Conditional Leasehold.

This form of tenure first appears in the Statute-book as part of the present Act, and may be described as a contingent leasehold privilege attaching to a conditional purchase, with a preferent right of conditional purchase in some cases, without residence after five years' tenure, or, sinking the preferent right, with an extension of the lease for a further five years, with residence.

By the system of pre-emptive leases in the land policy now repealed, a grazing right was accorded to the conditional purchaser of three times the area of his selection, which right was at any time liable to be reduced, or even cancelled, by alienation to other selectors. The system of conditional leases, on the other hand, gives a much more secure tenure. These leases are only obtainable in the Eastern and Central divisions, and may be granted to any applicant for a conditional or additional conditional purchase, or any holder of a conditional-purchase under any of the repealed Acts (special areas excepted); the area being limited to three times that of the purchase, the area of the purchase and lease together not to aggregate more than 1,280 acres in the Eastern, and 2,560 in the Central divisions; a smaller area—not less than 40 acres—being allotted if there be not more available.

The application may be confirmed or disallowed as in the case of conditional purchase, and if confirmed, the Local Land Board, with the approval, of the Minister, fixes the rent payable, which cannot be less than 2d. per acre. The holder may, if he page break choose, reside on the leasehold to satisfy the residence condition of the conditional purchase in virtue of which the leasehold is held, but must give notice to the Board of his intention to do so; further, he must fence the land in a similar manner, as far as practicable, to that stipulated in the case of conditional purchases, but one exterior fence will suffice for purchase and lease.

The preferent right to purchase the whole or part of the leasehold matures at the end of five years from the confirmation of the application, and should he so elect, the leaseholder may thereby become the conditional purchaser thereof, in the following manner:—He first lodges his application with the Local Land Board for a certificate of fulfilment of conditions of the leasehold, which, if granted, is prim âfacie evidence of his right to purchase the leasehold in whole or in part. If he prefer to purchase a part only, such part must adjoin the prior purchase. Furnished with this certificate, tie lodges' his application with the land agent for the preferent purchase, paying a deposit of 2s. per acre, which application is dealt with by the Board in open court; and failing caveat or objections, he ultimately, having paid the balance of the instalments as in the case of other conditional purchases, obtains the freehold.

Provision has been made for the conversion of pre-emptive leases under the repealed Acts (for which application was necessary within ninety days from 1st January, 1885) into conditional leases under this Act, which has been largely availed of.

Residence on these converted leases is not essential, but the preferent right to purchase does not attach thereto.