Not For Profit organisations are able to own or lease property just like any other entity. Generally, legislation and regulations are the same for Not For Profits as they are for business entities, although some exemptions may apply.
If you plan to lease a retail premises for your Not For Profit activities, the Victorian Small Business Commissioner (VSBC) is the regulating body for retail leases in Victoria. The retail leasing section on the VSBC website has information on leasing including regulations, dispute resolution and frequently asked questions
- See the Retail Leasing Matters section of the Office of the Small Business Commissioner website.
Can a Not For Profit negotiate a shorter lease term?
Under section 21 of the Retail Leases Act 2003, the minimum retail lease length is five years, including options to extend. The Act allows for prospective tenants to have this minimum length waived by applying for a waiver. The 5 year waiver certificates page on the VSBC website has more information.
- See the 5 year waiver certificates page on the Office of the Small Business Commissioner website.
Are Not For Profits eligible for renting concessions?
There are no legislated concessions for Not For Profits. Rent for a retail premises is negotiated between the tenant and the landlord.
Taxes and Duties
Are Not For Profits exempt from paying Land Tax?
Land owned by a charity and used only for charitable purposes may be exempt from Land Tax. The State Revenue Office (SRO) website has information about how you know if your organisation is defined as 'charitable' and how to apply for exemption.
- See the Charitable Institutions page on the State Revenue Office website.
If a Not For Profit is a retail tenant: Under section 50 of the Retail Leases Act 2003, a tenant is not liable to pay land tax under a retail premises lease
Are Not For Profits exempt from paying Duties?
Duty (also known as Stamp Duty) may be payable on transfers of land, some leasing arrangements and land rich acquisitions. Charitable organisations that meet the criteria specified in the Duties Act 2000 may be exempt from paying duties. The State Revenue Office (SRO) website provides information about how you know if your organisation is eligible for exemption and how to apply.
- See the Charities & Friendly Societies page on the State Revenue Office website.
Do we need to make our premises safe for our workers?
Not For Profits have the same obligations as any organisation to ensure the people working for them are safe. WorkSafe Victoria is the best place to go for information about your obligations to keep the workplace safe. Some relevant links to WorkSafe pages and publications are listed below:
- If you manage or employ workers in a workplace: you are responsible for the health and safety of all workers on your premises, including volunteers. The WorkSafe Victoria website has a good overview.
- See the Employers page on the WorkSafe website
- If you manage volunteers: WorkSafe Victoria has produced a handbook with general health and safety information for people who manage volunteers in Not For Profits.
- Download the Volunteer Health and Safety publication from the WorkSafe Victoria website
- If you are a board or committee member at a Not For Profit: WorkSafe Victoria has produced a fact sheet outlining the health and safety responsibilities of volunteers who are members of the leadership team (e.g. a board or committee of management) of a Not For Profit.
- Download the Community service volunteer boards and committees publication from the WorkSafe Victoria website.
Your legal obligation to report incidents
Not For Profits with a workplace are required by law to notify WorkSafe about incidents involving workplace health and safety, dangerous goods as well as explosives. WorkSafe must be notified immediately by calling 132 360 and then in writing within 48 hours using the online or downloadable form, available on their website.
Do we need to take out public liability insurance?
If somebody is injured or has their property damaged as a result of your Not For Profit's activities, they may make a claim against the organisation. Public liability insurance protects your organisation in the event of these sorts of claims. As an example, if someone slips, falls and is injured while on your organisation's premises, they could make a claim against you and your public liability insurance would cover the claim.
Often public liability insurance also includes product liability insurance, which would protect you in the event of claims if an injury or damage comes about as a result of a product your organisation sells. This would apply, for example, if you are selling food at a fundraising event and someone is injured as a result of eating it.
Most funding agreements and many permits will require that your organisation have public liability (and product liability) cover in place.