Advice for Tenants - Rent Review & Lease Renewal


David Goodchild David Goodchild
Director - Head of Division

01727 732222


Francis Tomlinson Francis Tomlinson
Director


01462 434455


 

COMMERICAL LEASE COMING TO AN END - WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?


When advising either landlords or tenants who are approaching the end of a lease on commercial property, we are often asked "What should I do?" advises Francis Tomlinson, Director of Aitchison Raffety.

Our general advice is to assess the position early, although the situation will vary from case to case, and from time to time. Importantly, it will also be influenced by whether or not the tenant is protected by security of tenure.



Security of Tenure


Security of tenure rights are available to tenants automatically under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954, although such rights can be lost. This means that, with the exception of certain specific circumstances, a tenant can have an automatic right to a new lease at the end of the current one, generally on similar terms to the existing lease and at a current market rent. The lease will therefore not necessarily expire at the end of the contractual term but, rather, may be brought to an end at that dat, or subsequently, by the service of statutory notices either by the landlord or tenant. Such a notice will advise as to whether or not a new lease is offered, or sought. In the absence of such notices, and assuming that the tenant remains in occupation, the lease will continue on the existing terms and at the existing rent. However, some leases specifically exclude the tenant's security of tenure, and this is quite common in short leases. Such leases expire at the end of the term with no tenant's right to renew whatsoever



Advice to Tenants


In the current market, rents for some properties have dropped substantially and some very good deals can be negotiated on vacant properties. Assuming that tenants wish to stay, we would generally recommend that they open a dialogue with the landlord at an early date, whilst at the same time considering the alternatives available. Prudent landlords will be aware of market conditions and the likely outcome if a tenant should leave, and should be prepared to enter into a dialogue to reduce the rent if appropriate. In the event of the tenant having security of tenure, we would recommend that the appropriate statutory notices are served as soon as possible. In the event of the lease not having security of tenure, we would also recommend that action is taken in plenty of time, as otherwise tenants can find themselves in a weak negotiating position having no rights of renewal.

The above is, of course, general advice and circumstances will differ in individual cases. We would always recommend that specific advice should be obtained from a Chartered Surveyor or similar professional advisor.

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