FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
Landlord and Tenant
We’d always recommend having a commercial law solicitor review your lease before you sign it. We can help you negotiate the finer details of the agreement, so that you understand your responsibilities in full.
It depends on the agreement between you and your landlord. Your starting point will be to check your lease to see what rights you have.
If you no longer want to occupy the premises, you may be able to assign your lease to another business and they take over the responsibilities of the tenancy. There could be an option to sublet the property. In this scenario you would still be legally responsible for the property and the payment of rent. If you want to try and surrender the lease completely, you will need to negotiate with your landlord and you may need to pay a release fee.
Whatever you decide to do, it is essential that you seek the landlord’s permission first and work closely with them throughout. We can guide both landlords and tenants through this process.
It will depend on the nature of your business and how you plan to use the property. As a good starting point, we’d recommend considering the following points.
- Might you need the inclusion of a break clause, so that you can surrender the lease early if needed?
- What is the current state of the property and who will be responsible for maintenance and repairs?
- When will rent reviews take place and are there are service charges in addition to the rent?
- Can the premises be altered, for example the temporary division of a large office into two smaller spaces.
Our commercial law solicitors can help you negotiate the terms of your lease with the landlord.
The extent of your responsibilities as a landlord or tenant will depend on the lease. If you are a tenant in a simple office space on a short-term lease, you may only be responsible for maintaining the standard of internal decoration. For example, you would be expected to repair walls damaged by whiteboards. Repairs to the fabric of the building may, but not always, fall to the landlord.
Bigger commercial property leases can be a bit more complex and the tenant will almost always be responsible for keeping the property in good repair. It is important that you understand the extent of your repairing and redecoration obligations at the outset, to avoid costly surprises later in your tenancy.
It’s always worth asking a commercial property lawyer to review your lease, so that you know exactly what you are agreeing to, before signing the contract.
No, not without notice. However there may be provisions in your lease allowing the rent to be increased at certain intervals (rent reviews). Any rent review must be agreed between the tenant and the landlord. If an agreement can’t be reached, there is usually a process for independent third-party determination.
In general no, though this area of law is actually a little uncertain and you should always check your lease. Leases almost always allow the landlord to enter the property for specific reasons.
If you are a landlord and feel that you may need access to make repairs under the covenant of the legal agreement, it’s worth reserving the right of entry in the lease.
Although a lease must be specific to your property, there are a few standard things that it should include. We can help you draft your commercial leases and would typically consider:
- The length of the lease and any other payments to be made by the tenant, such as service charges.
- The permitted use, detailing exactly what your property can be used for under the assigned planning class.
- Who is liable for repairs to the property and who has responsibility for what.
- Clauses around subletting of the premises or the assigning of the lease to another business.
- A rent review provision.