If you run your business from commercial premises, your lease is probably one of the most important legal documents you have. It should therefore go without saying that you need specialist legal advice to ensure there are no problems between you and your landlord. In practice, you are most likely to consult a commercial property solicitor over your commercial lease at the following times;
Renewing a lease is usually a signal to renegotiate terms, either directly with your landlord or through the courts. This may not necessarily work in your favour, so you should definitely talk to a solicitor at this point. A solicitor will also help you to minimise the risk of suddenly finding yourself without premises when the lease expires. As a business tenant, you are usually entitled to renew for a further term, or even to remain in the premises after the expiry date (“holding over”). However, a lease extension may not be guaranteed, so you need a specialist commercial property lawyer to make sure you’re not losing out unnecessarily.
Termination of the lease
Of course, there are times when you actively want to vacate the premises at the end of the lease, perhaps to move somewhere bigger. You can also surrender your lease before the expiry date, usually by paying the landlord a premium. In fact, ending a lease can be quite a costly business. If the premises aren’t left in exactly the condition set out in the lease, your landlord could serve you with a “schedule of dilapidations” and a hefty repair bill. Again, you need an experienced property solicitor on board to make sure you’re fully aware of your obligations and that you don’t pay over the odds when you terminate your lease.
Defaulting on lease terms
Whether it’s by accident or design, failure to comply with the terms of your lease can have serious consequences. Defaulting on your lease gives your landlord the right to cancel the lease and to take back possession of the premises, through a court order or by physically locking you out of the building. This would obviously be disastrous for your business. Good property solicitors will help you to avoid defaulting on your lease terms in the first place, and, if worse comes to worst, will be able to fight your corner to ensure that the landlord follows the correct procedure and to advise you on what countermeasures you need to take.
Your commercial lease is too important to leave to chance. Investing in specialist legal advice now can save you a lot of money in the future.