Security Of Tenure For Business Tenants

Security Of TenureIf a tenant is in occupation of a business premise when the lease comes to an end, he has the right to renew his lease on broadly similar terms to the existing lease.   So if he has a 12 year lease, he can ask for another 12 year lease and the same will happen when that 12 year lease comes to an end ad infinitum.

These rights come from the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and most business tenants find these rights very confusing.

No earlier than 12 months before the contractual term of the lease expires, either the Landlord or the Tenant can serve a notice on each other trying to establish the position where a Tenant has a right to renew his lease. Read the rest of this entry »

Service Charge

service chargeService charge provisions in a lease are intimidating and yet they are one of the areas of a lease which result in more litigation and complaints.   You can have a premises which effectively gives the landlord a blank cheque book and there is nothing you can do about it or is there?  I hope this short video guide will give tenants some useful tips and ideas where you have to take a lease with a service charge.

The service charge provisions in most leases are situated at the back of the lease in one of the schedules often one of the last schedules so right at the back.   In the main body of the lease there will be a tenant’s covenant to pay the service charge and in the landlord’s covenants, there will often be a series of covenants from the landlord covenanting to provide a list of services to the building or where the premises are situated on an estate, to the estate and building. Read the rest of this entry »

Why you should use a legal advisor

legal advisorIt is tempting when money is tight to dispense with a legal advisor when taking or granting a lease especially if the lease is a renewal of an existing lease.  What could go wrong?  You might even have the precedent saved on your system so it is just a question of slotting in a few blanks and that’s it.  You have saved yourself £600 to £800 plus VAT in legal fees.

Unfortunately, I have had clients who have lost considerable sums of money from doing a DIY job.   One client of mine granted a lease to a tenant but although it contained the wording to “contract out “from the security of tenure provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 because the necessary notice and statutory declaration were overlooked that tenant acquired security of tenure and is now continuously renewing the lease on the very unfavourable terms and they are not the best of tenants. Read the rest of this entry »

What to look for in a commercial lease

commercial property leaseOK – you have decided you need to take some premises for your new start-up and you have found a great location, but what to look for in a commercial lease?   The landlord’s agent sends you a lease.   It is 70 pages long.  You have yet to instruct a lawyer but you want to have a quick look through the lease to see if there are any nasties.   However, this thing is massive and it is all written in heavy legal jargon.   What to look for in a commercial lease?

Well, most leases are organised in the same way so once you follow these guidelines, you should be able to at least move around the document with some confidence. Read the rest of this entry »

What to look for when choosing property solicitors

Property SolitorsThere is very little you can do about it,  if you want to take a lease or buy a commercial property, you are going to need the services of property solicitors.   However, what should you be looking for when you are choosing which property solicitor to use.

Fixed Fee

The majority of commercial property solicitors would provide an estimate of their fees at the outset of the transaction and qualify this estimate with words along the lines “provided the matter proceeds to completion without undue complication, protracted negotiations or additional documentation”.  These words cover a multitude of sins.   Read the rest of this entry »

Why are commercial property solicitors so slow and expensive?

Commercial Property SolicitorsAt the risk of being lynched by my fellow professionals, I thought you might be interested to hear why most commercial property solicitors are so slow and expensive.  In short, it is because they are paid by the hour.   This means that the solicitor is not incentivised to work as quickly as possible.  In fact, he due he is incentivised to do the opposite.

This is reinforced by the fact that he is paid an hourly rate and that he or she works to strict billing targets which usually incorporates a billable time target eg. each “fee earner” must log 5 and a half billable hours per day.   The team leader will be given a report which shows which fee earners are not achieving this billable time target.   Repeated failure to hit the billable time targets could lead to the fee earner having his pay frozen, reduced or he may even be laid off.

Commercial Property Solicitors

It is also common practice in law firms for a low fee estimate to be given to the client to “get the job in the door “and then as the deal unfolds (and this is covered off in the initial terms of business letter so the client has no comeback on the law firm), the estimate is revised to take into account the additional work that is involved or the increased complexity or to reflect protracted negotiations.  So the figure is massaged upwards. Read the rest of this entry »

Dominic Beeton, Solicitor
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