Acquiring new leasehold premises
A commercial lease is a binding document which the tenant will enter into when taking a leasehold premises and will set out the rent payable, the term of the lease, the provisions for repair and many other important obligations to be assumed by the tenant which will be binding throughout the term of the lease.
Entering into a commercial lease without legal advice can be very costly in the event of subsequent dispute with a landlord. We recommend that our clients approach us prior to agreeing Heads of Terms with the selling agent in order that we may advise as to the terms which should be negotiated at an early stage. After the Heads of Terms are agreed we provide a detailed report to our client on the lease content and the title to the landlord’s property.
In addition we would negotiate the small print in the lease so as to attempt to ensure that our client’s interest is best protected. Our services also extend to associated documents such as Rent Deposit Deeds (where a landlord requires the deposit of a sum in money in order to guarantee the tenant’s obligations within the lease) and a Licence for Alterations. Following completion of the grant of the lease we would then submit a Stamp Duty Land Tax return (where applicable) and register the lease at the Land Registry.
Preparation of new lease
We act for landlords when preparing new leases of commercial premises. We normally advise and assist the landlord concerning the preparation of Heads of Terms prior to the property being marketed. Once a tenant is identified we prepare the draft lease and submit it to the tenant’s solicitors.
We also enter into negotiations with the tenant’s solicitors concerning the terms of the lease as well as any ancillary documents which are appropriate to protect the landlord’s interests, such as a Rent Deposit Deed and a Licence for Alterations.
Renewal of existing lease
Our services include advising and assisting landlords and tenants in respect of the renewal of existing leases where terms have been agreed between the parties.
So far as the landlord is concerned, this would extend to preparing the new lease and submitting to the tenant’s solicitors and ensuring that the terms agreed are adequately reflected, as well as ensuring that the original terms of the existing lease are incorporated, so far as they are not changed by the new circumstances.
When acting for a tenant we ensure that the tenant’s interests are not prejudiced by the new lease and also attend to a Stamp Duty Land Tax return (if appropriate) and registration of the new leasehold title at the Land Registry.
Termination of existing lease
When a lease is entered into it will either fall within or outside of certain provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. If the lease is within those provisions then the tenant will have an automatic right to renewal of the lease at the end of the term, subject to certain specific exemptions. Where a tenant is so entitled then we are able to provide advice and assistance concerning the appropriate terms for the new lease and to attend to formal completion of negotiation and completion of the lease.
If agreement is not reached between the parties then either the landlord or the tenant may serve a notice under the Landlord and Tenant Act indicating whether or not a new lease is required and if they object to the grant of a new lease.
We are able to provide detailed advice in relation to the service of the statutory notices (known as section 25 and section 26 notices) and the content to be incorporated. It is essential to take detailed advice on such a notice since if it is not in the correct form or is not served according to the legislation then the rights of the individual party may fail.
Disputes often arise with regard to the repairing obligations contained within a lease and, in particular, dilapidations which occur due to a tenant’s failure, or alleged failure, to repair the property in accordance with those lease provisions.
Where such a situation occurs the landlord may wish to serve a Schedule of Dilapidations and we are able to advise and assist concerning service of such a document or, alternatively, represent a tenant when such a notice is served.
The cost of complying with a Schedule of Dilapidations can be substantive and it is therefore essential that any affected party takes advice, particularly with regard to whether or not the dilapidations sums claimed are appropriate or recoverable.