Lease Compliance and Enforcement
Lands Department (LandsD) is responsible for, among other land administration, lease enforcement duties.
Whether a certain use in a building is in breach of the land lease depends on the terms and conditions of the relevant lease and related documents executed for the lot in question and the actual circumstances concerning how the land and buildings thereon are being used. It is not advisable to generalize. Even the same type of buildings may be governed by leases with different terms and conditions.
If a breach of lease conditions is detected, the LandsD may take appropriate lease enforcement actions. LandsD will normally issue a warning letter to the owner concerned requesting rectification of the lease breach within a specified time. If the owner does not rectify the breach by the deadline, LandsD may register the warning letter at the Land Registry, commonly known as “imposing an encumbrance”. If the seriousness of the breach warrants further action, for instance where the breach poses a serious threat to public safety, LandsD may proceed with re-entry of the lot or vesting of the relevant interest to Government.
A land lease is a private contract and is enforced by LandsD in its capacity as the landlord and a party to the contract. Actions taken by LandsD in such a capacity do not involve prosecution.