Understanding the legal issues

These projects are not to be undertaken lightly. While there is an inevitable amount of trial and error involved it is vital to dot your i's and cross your t's at the beginning. 

A property - even an empty one - is a big responsibility. No one will trust you with an empty space unless you can show you're serious about it.

Renew Newcastle involved pro bono lawyers early on to assist with planning the project, establishing the company, drawing up licence agreements and the other paperwork involved. 

Being able to refer property owners to credible solicitors when they ask legal questions also makes it much easier for owners to take the idea of lending their property seriously. 

Whoever is planning and negotiating the use of the space needs to understand the details of insurance, who would do what, and how and when to vacate the properties if a commercial tenant came along. 

Renew Newcastle's pro bono lawyers Sparke Helmore have developed great model licence agreements specifically for Renew Newcastle.

These are now available to other projects and groups courtesy of the Arts Law Centre of Australia and the NSW State Government but we would stress that these are no substitute for getting your own legal advice - this is only a place for your own lawyers to start.