Management at Curtin's Teddybears Childcare Centre say they live each day in fear of closure the next, as their ACT government landlords give no clarity on potential redevelopment plans.
Teddybears owner Mark Gillett says the centre, which holes up in the former North Curtin Primary School, has not had an official lease for months. Prior to that, stints without a lease lasted several years.
While the promise of a five-year one was dangled in front of them in October 2018, a written acknowledgement is yet to come, and possible demolition of the site was flagged for 2021 in an email with a government official.
"If a business owner was doing this to a tenant, he'd be in court on charges," Mr Gillett said.
"I did tell [staff] what turned out to be a lie, that we were getting a five-year lease, because I was told that. We were assured that."
An ACT government spokesman said there are no development plans for the Storey Street site at this stage and it was unable to discuss confidential commercial leases.
Its Emergency Services Agency had been a tenant of the former primary school since 1993 - about the time that Teddybears also moved in.
The building dates back to 1966 and Teddybears struggled to get government-funded maintenance help until very recently, Mr Gillett said.
"For 28 years, they have not painted anything in this building. I did it all with my own hands," he said.
"They have no replaced no flooring, I have replaced it all. I have replaced the kitchen two times."
Centre director Shaista Farooq said the government owed them a clear redevelopment timeline so staff and parents, who she and Mark had kept informed about the situation, could make arrangements if need be.
"If the centre has to go in one year, two years or even in six months, we just need to know," Ms Farooq said.
"So it's not that somebody comes and knocks on the door and says: 'OK, come on, leave the centre'. Then, we'll have nowhere to go."
Correction: The ACT's Emergency Services Agency is still operational at the former North Curtin Primary School. A previous version of this article was incorrect, as it stated agency staff no longer occupied the building.