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.

Another client of mine drafted a lease for 20 years without rent review provisions because they used a precedent which was based on a 5 year lease with no rent review provisions.  This left them in a very difficult situation and they had to pay the tenant a lot of money to enable the lease to be varied.

Use a legal advisor to grant a new lease

There are so many things that can be overlooked and which could cost a client thousands to rectify.   If you think the average lease is over 40 pages long that is a lot of document.    There are very important issues to address relating to rent, rent review, rights granted to the tenant, rights reserved to the landlord, service charge.

Hidden behind the words in the lease are cases and legislation which is changing all the time.    Lawyers are obliged to attend regular courses updating on all of the latest cases and legislation.

Some clients use simple short form leases but often these very simple documents can cause major problems because they do not contain adequate definitions or descriptions of the property.  It is vital that the lease contains detailed descriptions of the property being leased to avoid there being disputes between landlord and tenant as to who is responsible for repairing what.  Again, I have seen DIY leases where it is simply not clear who is responsible for what and so if there is a dispute in the future, the parties are going to be locked into expensive litigation to try to resolve the matter.  This might mean the lease is incapable of assignment so that a tenant cannot sell his business.

A good reason for employing a legal advisor is because if he gets anything wrong, he can be sued as he carries professional indemnity insurance.  The whole process of claiming against a legal advisor for negligence has been much easier by protocols and no win no fee deals.  If a client dabbled and it causes an issue, he will have no one to blame but himself.

use a legal adviser on taking or granting a new lease

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Dominic Beeton, Solicitor
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