The Harrison Drury Blog

5 things a tenant should know about commercial leases

Office to lease

The majority of businesses need premises to operate from, whether they be for offices, workshops, factories or storage facilities. While some businesses own the premises they operate from, most occupy under a lease paying a market rent. But, there is more to a commercial lease than the payment of rent and the answers to the following commonly asked questions will give potential business tenants some useful guidance:-

1. Once I have signed the lease can I get out of it if my business suffers a downturn?

Leases are generally granted for a fixed period of years known as a term.  The lease term can only be ended early by the tenant if, prior to entering the lease the landlord has agreed that the tenant has an option to do so, or, the landlord later agrees to release the tenant from the lease before the term has expired.  If neither of these situations arise, and you cannot find an acceptable replacement tenant for the premises, you may well remain bound to pay the rent and comply with all other obligations until the end of the lease term, even if you have vacated the premises.

2. I know there will be rent to pay, but are there any other costs I may be responsible for under the lease?

If you are renting part of the landlord’s building such as an office block, you may also have a responsibility to contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of common parts of the whole building such as the roof and structural walls, or other things that are used in common with other occupiers of the landlord’s property, such as lifts or a reception area.  This is often referred to as service charge.  The tenant will also be responsible for the payment of the insurance premium for the premises to cover damage to the premises and also the loss of rent the landlord may suffer if the premises become unusable due to such damage.

There can be a cost if you want to transfer the lease, or sub-let part of the property to someone else, as you will usually need the landlord’s written permission, and the landlord can normally claim the cost of considering whether to agree to the transaction and also drafting and agreeing the form of the written permission.  Finally, you will usually be responsible for the business rates, utilities and any other outgoings in relation to the premises.

3. If I find that there are repairs required to the premises, am I right to think the landlord will sort them out?

Most commercial landlords not only seek to avoid any responsibility to carry out repairs to the premises, but will actually seek to put the responsibility for putting the property into repair on the tenant’s shoulders.  A tenant who agrees to a full repairing obligation can find himself with a repairing bill running into tens of thousands of pounds when the lease ends, despite the fact that the disrepair pre-dated the lease itself.  A well advised tenant will try to limit his repairing responsibility to keeping it in no worse state than it was at the date of the lease.  For this reason, it is highly recommended that an ingoing tenant obtains a survey to check and record the condition of the premises before they enter into a lease.

4. What happens if, after I have taken the lease, I discover there are problems relating to the premises that impact on my business?

The principle of “buyer beware” relates to a tenant taking a lease in the same way that it does to a purchaser buying a property, meaning that a tenant takes a property “warts and all” and he must satisfy himself that it is suitable both physically and legally for the use he intends.  The research into the property carried out by a good lawyer will reveal many things about the property, including whether the landlord actually has the power to grant the lease, any adverse rights that may affect it as well as any rights that benefit the property such as rights of way.   Lawyers can carry out a range of enquiries and searches to discover such things as planning permissions affecting the land, whether the property is connected to the public highway, whether there is any risk that the premises may be on contaminated land, whether the is a risk of subsidence due to historic mining in the area, whether the property is connected to mains utilities and a host of other information.

It is common for tenants who have not been represented by solicitors to enter a lease without finding out any of this information.  If a problem rears its head in such a case, say for instance the property does not have planning permission to use it for the tenant’s business, he will have no comeback against the landlord and the tenant will have to continue paying the rent despite the fact he may have a useless asset.

5. I’ve heard that a landlord can change the locks of my business premises if I am late paying the rent, is this true?

In short, yes.  The powers of a commercial landlord to deal with non-payment of rent are far-reaching.  Forfeiture is the procedure by which a landlord can terminate a lease and virtually all commercial leases will have a clause allowing the landlord to terminate the lease if the rent is unpaid for a specified number of days, usually somewhere between 14 -28.  Unlike their residential brethren, commercial landlords do not need a court order to retake possession of leased property if their right to forfeit the lease has arisen because of late payment of rent.  Landlords also have the right to send bailiffs in to seize the tenant’s goods and sell them if the rent is unpaid, but legislation will soon come into force to restrict this right.

The above answers cover some basic issues relating to commercial leases, but in reality only scratch the surface of what is a complicated topic.  If you have any queries relating to commercial leases please comment on this article and I will try and answer them.  I will also be posting further blogs on different aspects of commercial leases and commercial property in general and welcome and comments and contributions you may have.


By Ghulam Patel on June 1st, 2016

Hello, I’m from England and I am the tenant of a commercial property for the past few years. The first two years of my tenancy, I paid the insurance premium for the building insurance after the landlord took it out. On the third year the landlord refused to shop around for cheaper insurance choosing to continue renewing the more expensive premium. This lead to me inspecting the lease more closely and it turns out that the clause about the tenant repaying the insurance premium to the landlord is missing! Since then I stopped paying the insurance premium as technically I’m not supposed to pay as per the lease. In fact the only reason I was paid for the first two years was because I did not read the lease carefully and the landlord’s insistence that the clause for the tenant paying the insurance premium was in the lease. Now that the lease is up for renewal, the landlord is now threatening to go to court and I wanted to know what to do? On one hand I can call his bluff and see if he really goes to court (if this were to happen what are his chances of winning), or I can accept to pay the insurance but would demand my money back for the first two years considering I wasn’t legally obligated to pay that money in the first place as per the terms of the lease.

Any help would be appreciated, thank you.

By Jacob Walker on June 1st, 2016

Dear Ghulam

Thank you for your comment relating to our blog post on commercial leases. Your comment raises a number of issues, which I will attempt to deal with in turn.

In relation to whether there is a duty for a commercial landlord to shop around for insurance, I cannot comment specifically on your case because I do not have full details; however, generally, the landlord is not obliged to procure insurance at the cheapest cost following the cases of Havenridge Limited v Boston Dyers Limited [1994] 2 EGLR 73 and Berrycroft Management Co Limited and others v Sinclair Gardens Investments (Kensington) Limited [1996] EGCS 143.

Unfortunately, it is impossible for me to advise on the prospects of the landlord’s threatened Court proceedings against you (presumably for recovery of the insurance premiums) without sight of the lease in question and any other relevant correspondence and documentation. This is potentially a complex matter, but it would be unusual for a commercial tenant not to be obliged to repay the insurance premiums to the landlord. In order to advise you, we would first need to ascertain your position under the lease.

In terms of lease renewal, you may have a right to request a new lease (known as “security of tenure”) pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, but it is possible that this security of tenure is ‘contracted out’ (excluded) in your lease. Again, in order for us to advise you further, we would need sight of the lease. If you are entering into a new commercial lease, we would always advise that you seek legal advice before doing so.

If you require our further assistance, our commercial property and property dispute resolution teams would be very happy to speak with you further. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.

By Jack Stephenson on June 1st, 2016

Dear Nilufar

Many thanks for your comment.

Unfortunately it is difficult to advise without sight of your lease / license. Whether they are able to move you to another part of the building will ultimately depend on the terms under which you occupy the office.

Apologies I cannot be of more assistance, however if please feel free to send a copy of the document to in order to discuss this further

Kind Regards

Jack Stephenson

By Tracy Welton on June 2nd, 2016

Hi,I have leased my shop from the same landlord for 27 years.The lease expired in Sept 2012..on the year of March 2011,the landlord verbally agreed to reduce the rent by £1000 per year.Since
March of 2011,I have been paying £10.000 instead of £11.000.The landlord is now asking for the £1000 per year back amounting to £4500, can he do this even though the lease expired in 2012.
Your help is appreciated.

By Ben Jones on June 2nd, 2016

Hi I signed a lease back in sept last year to rent a property to run my business, the people who are my landlord sublet this to me, I paid £6000 deposit and 3 months up front rent as well as paying money for the contract building insurance ect, I found out in the Dec last year that the superior landlord didn’t know I was in the Building and they had got me in there illegally without a license to sublet, he was happy for me to stay and would grant the license to sublet if the people who sublet to me fix all there breaches and pay there outstanding bills. I was advised not to pay them any more money until the license is granted, this has been going on from January to the current date, my solicitor has just received a new lease which needs to be negotiated, the people who sublet to me, have threatened to not let me into the building if I haven’t signed the lease in 3 days, which is very unfair as the lease needs to be worked on, could anyone advise me on my rights of occupancy, as the new lease is in negotiation, and when it is done and signed I can transfer the money owed, where do I stand on periodic or lease will

By mark on June 6th, 2016

Our landlord has sold the building of our business and we now have a new landlord, do we still need to honour the new lease that was signed with the original landlord which was signed just 5 months before the sale or do we have a case to get out of our lease as the paperwork was never signed with this new landlord ?

By Trevor Wilson on June 7th, 2016

My friend signed a lease agreement and because of business and health issues handed in her notice after a year. She has complied with the terms and provided 4 months notice however, the landlord and agent who look after the property have continually ignored all correspondence and are making her pay business rates as they are refusing to accept the notice as she has not ‘Decorated the property to the Landlords satisfaction’ although not one person will tell her what this ‘satisfaction’ ie: colour, paper, pattern or style meets this criteria. All the while she is having to pay business rates. Is this legal to refuse to correspond or accept notice to leave?

By Liz Cooksey on June 11th, 2016

Hi we lease a shop with a flat above which we sub let however the roof has been leaking now for 12 months in my lease my landlord is responsible for the roof but despite my consent requests has failed to get it repaired and quite rightly my tenant is suffering but I don’t have the funds to repair the roof first and then try to reclaim from my landlord. Advice on my rights and what I should do would be appreciated.

By Aslam on June 12th, 2016

I have signed a commercial lease on my name only, if I break the contract can the landlord come after my house which is on my name as well as my wife’s.

By Jack Stephenson on June 17th, 2016

Dear Aslam

Many thanks for your query.

If you breach the lease and the landlord obtains a county court judgement against you, one possible way to secure the judgement is by way of a charging order.

A charging order secures the judgement against a property. If the property is in joint names, the charging order would only cover your beneficial interest in the property, not your wife’s.

One way to enforce a charging order is by applying to the court for an order for sale. Whether an order for sale is granted would ultimately be at the court’s discretion, however I am unable to advise on the prospects of this without obtaining further information from you.

Please feel free to contact me on 01772 429 207 or in order to discuss this further.

Kind Regards

Jack Stephenson

By Simon on June 18th, 2016

Hi there,

I am the leaseholder of a restaurant. A third party driver crashed through the premises causing structural damage and now the building has become uninhabitable whilst his insurers deal with the repairs, which could take up to 6 months.

Apparently, as the lease does not have a rent cessation clause means I will be liable to continue paying rent even though the building is unusable. Is there any legal standing or case law to help my situation? Having to continue to pay rent will hurt my cash flow ability to look for alternative premises and my insurers will be less likely to fund alternative premises if they’re covering my rent.

Many thanks – Si

By Ruth ferguson on June 20th, 2016

How much time I need to give my tenant if I decide to sell my commercial property?

By Jacob Walker on June 20th, 2016

Dear Simon

Thank you for your query.

Whilst I cannot advise you without sight of the lease in question, in general terms it is common for a lease to contain a ‘rent suspension’ clause, which would operate where the tenant’s demised premises are damaged or destroyed so that they are unusable by the tenant. Depending on the type of damage and the drafting of the clause, the tenant may be relieved of the obligation to pay rent for the duration of the rent suspension period. Such a clause would usually be accompanied by a requirement that the landlord take out loss of rent insurance to cover that period. During the rent suspension period, while the tenant is not paying rent, the landlord would receive an amount equal to the rent through its loss of rent insurance.

If a lease does not contain a rent suspension clause, the default position would be that a tenant remains obliged to pay rent under the lease, even where the premises are unusable. A Court may in certain circumstances imply a term into a specific contract to fill a gap in the contract’s drafting, in order to reflect the parties’ intentions when the contract was entered into. However the test is an objective one, and the Court will consider what a reasonable person would have understood the parties’ intentions to be, given the background knowledge reasonably available to the parties at the time they entered the contract. The courts will not imply a term into a contract simply because they think it would have been reasonable for the parties to have done so (Liverpool City Council v Irwin [1976] UKHL 1).

I cannot advise you on your position in these specific circumstances without sight of the lease in question and absent any further information relating to the circumstances in which you entered into the lease. However in general, the Courts have shown reluctance to imply terms into commercial leases. The recent Court of Appeal case of Marks and Spencer plc v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company (Jersey) Limited and another [2014] EWCA Civ 603 overturned a decision of the High Court to imply a term relating to a break clause into a commercial lease, on the grounds that the lease, read as a whole against the relevant background, would not reasonably be understood to include the term. The test for an implied term had therefore not been satisfied.

If you require specific advice on your position under your lease, please contact or a member of our Property Dispute Resolution team, and we will be happy to discuss this matter with you further.

Kind regards

Jacob Walker

By Sue on June 23rd, 2016

I have rented a commercial property to a Tenant with no lease for approximately 10 years. Can I give them notice to leave to sell the building? If so how much notice do I have to give them
Sue Bailey

By Helen on June 28th, 2016

My lease states that the landlord can re-enter the property if any rent is unpaid 21 days after becoming payable.
It also states;
‘If the landlord re-enters the property (or any part of the property in the name of the whole) pursuant to this clause, this lease shall immediately end, but without prejudice to any right or remedy of the landlord in respect of any breach of covenant by the tenant or any guarantor.’ My question is, if the landlord re-entered the property, thus ending the lease, would I still be liable to pay rent after the end of the lease (that is the date of re-entry), or would I only be liable for rent up to the date he re-entered?

By Matthew Astley on June 29th, 2016

Dear Helen

Thank you for your query; I will aim to address the issues raised in it by first giving you a general overview of the applicable law in this area. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide specific legal advice on your query without sight of your lease.

Business tenancies which meet certain criteria are protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (“LTA 1954”). The LTA 1954 allows termination of a protected lease by different methods, one of which is “forfeiture”. It is possible for a landlord to “forfeit” a business lease either by peaceable re-entry or by going to court to bring forfeiture proceedings against the tenant. Re-entry is the process under which the landlord exercises a right under the lease to terminate it in the event of a default by the tenant or a happening of a certain event. Forfeiture can take place during the term of the lease.

You have stated that in your lease there is an express reservation that your landlord may enter the property if the rent is unpaid 21 days after it is payable. It is further clarified in your lease that your landlord need only re-enter part of the property in the name of the whole. This is to address a situation where the landlord is unable to gain access to the whole of the property, but wants the re-entry to be effective for the whole of the property let to you. Clauses, such as the one you have described, permitting forfeiture on the basis that rent is unpaid for 21 days are common in commercial leases.

I will turn now to your specific query over whether you will still be liable to pay rent after your landlord has forfeited your lease. The brief answer is that if the lease is successfully forfeited, then this will end the contractual term and the protected tenancy. In short, as soon as the lease is forfeited, the lease comes to an end. However, the landlord may still have claims against you for outstanding rent prior to forfeiture; for other breaches of covenants (e.g. repair); and for its costs, among others. Again, I cannot advise you what your potential liability would be without knowing more about your specific situation.

One thing you should be aware of is that the tenant can apply to the court for relief from forfeiture if a landlord re-enters a commercial property. If such relief is granted, the effect is as if the lease had never been forfeited and the tenant’s statutory rights to a lease renewal are also resurrected.

As mentioned above, in order to give full advice tailored to your query we would need to see a full copy of the lease. This would allow full consideration of its terms, including the clause you mention purporting to reserve the right to re-enter the property following non-payment of rent, and the document as a whole. It would be particularly important to examine whether the forfeiture clause in your lease requires your landlord to make a formal demand for the outstanding rent before peaceable re-entry.

To receive specific advice on your position under your lease, please feel free to either contact me, on 01772 429209 or at , or a member of our Commercial Property team, in order to discuss your query in further detail.

Kind regards

Matthew Astley

By Steve Man on July 2nd, 2016

I leased a commercial premises 15 years ago in Suffolk and it has since come to light that the lease states the wrong planning category (A1/A2) despite also stating its a restaurant. Can the landlord (not the original landlord) revoke the lease as they are saying I am in breach of the terms? What do I need to do to get this amended? They were aware when they took over the building 10 years ago that it was a resturant.

By Rajesh Kumar Arora on July 4th, 2016

I have been running retail business from a rented property. for which rent agreement was done for 3 years. which is now coming to end after 3 months. i was asking for renewal for which he never denied and always said, i will never ask you to vacate, and renew the agreement. but in the last few days his tone has changed. i afer resigning from my job started business of retail grocery store with all my savings. now i cant vacate this place as i have spent lacs of rupees on infrastructure and stocks. let me know and guide what can i do…I have never defaulted on Rent and always paid rent in advance for. when ever my land lord wanted some money he took from me as rent advance. Guide me

By Jacob Walker on July 6th, 2016

Dear Rajesh

Thank you for your query.

You mention rupees, which seems to suggest that your query relates to a jurisdiction other than England and Wales. Unfortunately, we are only able to consider queries relating to the law of England and Wales.

Kind regards

Jacob Walker

By Hannah on July 6th, 2016

I run a small retail business within a shopping centre so I pay a service charge every quarter usually amounting to a little over £400. A year ago I received a Credit Note for £90 with a letter which said any credit/debit notes received are to be used against my next service charge, which I used. 8-10 months later they are demanding the amount I deducted from that payment claiming that they had ‘printed it on the wrong paper’ and that it was actually supposed to be a debit note. The words ‘CREDIT NOTE’ were printed on the paper, but the letters ‘DR’ have been put after the amount. Am I obligated to pay this?

By Vaibhav Avhad on July 6th, 2016


I’m planning to buy business which is at rented property and agreement is until 2018. What would happen if my landlord decide not to renew my lease? can he run same business on same place?

By Laura Brereton on July 7th, 2016

Dear Vaibhav,

Thank you for your query. It is difficult to advise without first seeing a copy of the lease. The lease may have provisions which prevent the current tenant from assigning the lease to you, and the contents of the lease may also have implications for the future of your business. I would strongly recommend that you have the lease reviewed by a solicitor before proceeding. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like me to assist with reviewing the lease on your behalf.

Kind regards,

Laura Brereton

By Mary on July 8th, 2016

I am 14 days late with my rent. I paid 1/3 of it but my landlord said he will send in the bailiff. Can he do this?

By Khabi Mirza on July 8th, 2016

I recently moved my PR showroom to a new location. Having come to the end of my previous tenancy agreement (sub-let) with a private landlord I requested my £16.5k deposit (which we had been verbally told would be held in an Escrow account) , only to be told today that the property management company has gone into liquidation.
As my business was the sole tenant of this landlord, it appears that the owner has unscrupulously decided to pocket my deposit.
I would greatly appreciate any advice you can give me on my legal recourse to get back my sizeable deposit.
Also, perhaps worth noting that the landlord in question also runs a separate recruitment business which is still operating.
Many thanks for your help,
Khabi Mirza

By Taylor on July 8th, 2016

We took on a ground floor retail tenancy in 2015. There was another retail premises above us. In 2016 the landlord converted the 1st floor to a residential flat. There are only carpeted floor boards between us and the flat above. We have open rafters as we are an art gallery (its trendy 😉 I did ask about fire separation when we took the lease on but was told commercial premises doesn’t require it? Now on our busy Saturday the whole gallery is filled with obnoxious overpowering food smells from above. We have customers walking out. We have informed the landlord and the best he could offer was for us to put lemons out to absorb the smell. He says he asked the tenants and they said they dont cook on a Saturday and they always use the extractor when they do. He has just accepted that and said there is nothing he can do. We have already had to put up with excessive noise 5 days a week for 5 months whilst they converted it, drilling and banging. Plus he did all this without planning permission or building control. He has now turned very aggressive to me as i wont let it go. Any advice. thanks

By Matthew Astley on July 11th, 2016

Dear Mary

Thank you for your enquiry.

Given the subject matter of the blog on which you have commented I will respond on the assumption that your enquiry relates to a commercial lease.

In order to provide you with full advice, tailored to you and your particular situation, we would need to have sight of your lease and obtain further details from you.

There is a legal procedure available to commercial landlords relating to the recovery of rent arrears. This procedure for commercial rent arrears recovery (“CRAR”) is set out in the Tribunals Court and Enforcement Act 2007. It allows a landlord to instruct what is known as an “enforcement agent” to take control of the tenant’s goods and sell them in order to recover an equivalent value to the rent arrears. For the purposes of CRAR, rent is the amount payable under the lease for possession and use of the premises and excludes sums towards council tax, repairs, maintenance and so forth.

Only an enforcement agent can exercise CRAR on behalf of a landlord. CRAR is similar to a previous method of enforcement known as “distress”, but there are some important differences. A certified bailiff is used to carry out distress, although in practice there appears to be little difference between an enforcement agent and a landlord.

CRAR applies to all tenancies of commercial premises that are in writing. Before CRAR can be exercised the following conditions must be satisfied: the tenant must be in arrears before notice of enforcement is given; the amount of arrears must be certain or capable of being calculated with certainty; the “net unpaid rent” must equal or exceed an amount equal to seven days rent; and the tenant must be in arrears of the net unpaid rent when control of the goods is taken. Furthermore, before CRAR can take place various notices, which must include certain information, have to be served at each stage of the process.

If a commercial landlord uses CRAR it has potentially important consequences for additional rights that the landlord may ordinarily have. For example, if CRAR is used, any right to “forfeiture” will be waived. Forfeiture is a method by which a business tenancy that meets certain criteria can be terminated. It is possible for a landlord to “forfeit” a business lease either by peaceable re-entry or by going to court to bring forfeiture proceedings against the tenant. Therefore, a prudent landlord will not use CRAR without careful consideration.

The above gives you a very basic outline of CRAR. However, as mentioned, in order to give you full advice we would need to have sight of your lease and obtain further details from you about the particular circumstances of your enquiry. To receive tailored advice please feel free to either contact me, on 01772 429209 or at , or a member of our Commercial Property team, in order to discuss your query in further detail.

Kind regards

Matthew Astley

By John Smith on July 11th, 2016

I recently rented out a building to a company on a Licence, rather than a Lease, due to restrictions of sole use on the building. The tenant got into financial difficulty and was given 3 months to vacate per the terms of the licence. They have now left, owing a considerable amount of rent and leaving a lot of play equipment behind (the business was a nursery. Would I be entitled to sell the equipment to recover some of the rent owed, can I bin it or do I have to store it for any future liquidators (the company is now insolvent. Thanks John

By kevin on July 11th, 2016

have sale commercial property lease granted in 1995 with further option to renew for further 3 years on title. I bought 10 years ago vacant possession tenants or successors not there no rent paid can I sell as is and new owner take free of this

By Laura Brereton on July 12th, 2016

Dear Kevin,

I am not quite sure what the position is from reading your query but my understanding is that you purchased the freehold of a commercial property ten years ago. At some point the property was tenanted but from what you say it seems that this is no longer the case.

If you want to sell the property soon it will be easier if the notice relating to the lease is removed from the title first and, depending on the circumstances, this can be relatively simple to do. Please contact a member of our commercial property team on 01772 258321 if you would like us to give you a quote for the work and discuss your requirements further.

Kind regards,


By Adrian Miles on July 12th, 2016

Hi my partner agreed to purchase a business which I provided funds for. It was agreed the existing lease would be transferred like for like into her name. However when the new draft lease was issued it was a full repairing lease completely different from the original. Whilst my partner has been given access to run her business in the property by sub letting from the tenant and she has agreed to pay all bills rent etc. However the building is in disrepair and the landlord will not agree to repairs unless my partner signs a new full repairing and insuring lease. My partner has decided not to pay rent until the building is put in good order but the tenant has now threatened her with section 146 if the rent is not paid. Is the tenant able to do this bearing in mind there is no written contract/agreement and my partner was given false information when agreeing to purchase the business. To date nothing has been signed and no payment has been made to purchase the business from the tenant.

By Morag on July 14th, 2016

Hello, I sold my business last year, I remained on the lease which has an AGA attached to it. My buyer has now defaulted on the rent and stopped operating the business and the landlord’s solicitor is threatening court action which involves me also under the AGA. The buyer and one witness claims the landlord told her that she doesn’t need to pay the rent as he will just get the money from me. He has said the same thing to me in the past when we discussed my selling the business. Ie. I don’t need to worry about the tenant defaulting as I will get the rent from you. In my view this is encouraging my buyer not to pay the rent to him. Please where do I stand on this? Thank you M

By DAVID on July 18th, 2016

I have a tenant who is on a 15 year FRI lease, last month he paid his rent via a newly constructed limited company. On the company he is down with his wife as directors.
I refused to accept the rent as paid and informed him that it is he and his wife who have the lease and not a limited company, I then informed them that I would place the monies into a separate account until I hear from him. To date I have heard nothing. What is the next step? Thank you

By Amanda on July 18th, 2016

I am a leaseholder with no contract for 8 years. Each time I ask for one Landlord ignores me. I have faced rent increase over the years. Landlord wanted to build luxury flat and he lost the case. He has now issued me with a Notice to Quit January 2017. What can I do?

By Carole on July 19th, 2016


We run a small company bottling Dartmoor Water. We have a two year lease for the land our bottling shed is on and the borehole and pump etc. Our Landlady is threatening to shut us down and bulldoze the whole site as she is fed up with us. (we are only trying to improve broadband into our office, and asked BT to see what if anything they could do!). Rent and bills are always paid on time and we are building up a good reputation in the area. We are wondering if its worth continuing with our venture if she is able to just come in and shut us down?! We were hoping to get further rounds but we only have 1 and half years left on the lease? My other concern is that due to her erratic behavour and is elderly where do we stand if she is in the first stages of Alzheimers, with no close family?

I would just like to know what we can do to ensure we arent just kicked out.

Any help or guidance would be so appreciated.

Waiting in anticipation for a reply.


By Brad on July 20th, 2016

hi iam leasing a social club i’ve been getting a bill stating quarterly ground rent and insurance every month!!! should i be paying these….

By Kerry Southworth on July 22nd, 2016

Dear Liz

Many thanks for your comment. Unfortunately I am unable to provide you with clear advice until I see the terms of your current lease. The law surrounding repair obligations is fairly precise in terms of what needs to be in the lease to triggers the obligations.

It may be that you have recourse to your landlord for failing to comply with the terms of the lease, and potentially for negligence if this failure has caused you or your tenants any harm.

If you would like to send us a copy of your lease, and any correspondence with your landlord regarding the leak, I will arrange for a member of our property litigation to contact you.

Kind Regards,

By Jack Stephenson on July 22nd, 2016

Dear Brad

Thank you for your query.

Unfortunately I will need to see a copy of your lease before I am able to advise you further.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on 01772 429 207 or

Kind Regards

Jack Stephenson

By Matthew Astley on July 22nd, 2016

Dear Carole

Thank you for your enquiry, which it appears relates to a business tenancy.

In order to provide you with full, tailored advice, we would need to obtain further details from you and have sight of your lease. Nevertheless, we are able to provide you with the following, general information.

Business tenancies that meet certain criteria are protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (“LTA 1954”). The LTA 1954 allows termination of a protected lease by different methods. In some cases, landlords and tenants agree to exclude the provisions of the LTA 1954 at the time the lease is entered into. This is the reason that it is important that we see your lease as to advise you we would need to determine whether the LTA 1954 has been excluded or not.

In general terms, a protected lease will not terminate automatically at the end of the contractual term. Instead, if certain criteria are met, it will continue until terminated in a specified way. However, there are various ways to terminate a protected tenancy. In relation to termination by a landlord, as opposed to by the tenant, these include termination by notice under the LTA 1954 and termination by something called forfeiture if the tenant has breached the lease.

In order to terminate by notice under the LTA 1954, a landlord must give notice of not more than 12 months nor less than 6 months before the termination date specified in the notice. Notice can be served before the end of the contractual term or afterwards if the tenancy continues. In some cases a lease may contain a contractual break notice or option. If this is the case then the notice period mentioned still applies. In addition, the termination date specified in the notice cannot be earlier than the break notice given under the lease.

In some circumstances the landlord is also able to terminate a protected tenancy by forfeiture, meaning that the landlord is able to “forfeit” the tenancy by “peaceable re-entry”. The ability of the landlord to do this depends on whether the tenant has breached a condition or covenant of the lease.

Before being able to fully and properly advise you on how the law on terminating a protected business tenancy applies to your particular circumstances, we would need to review your lease. We would also need to obtain further information from you, in the context of our consideration of your lease, about the surrounding circumstances of your case, including for example about your attempts to try and improve the broadband into your office.

To receive tailored advice please feel free to either contact me, on 01772 429209 or at , or a member of our Commercial Property team, in order to discuss your query in further detail.

Kind regards

Matthew Astley

By Chris Hinsley on July 25th, 2016

Hello, I appreciate that you would need to see the contract to offer further advice so I will keep this general and hope that you can offer me some general advice. My wife owns a Beauty salon and rents 2 rooms of a local leisure centre to operate from. In her contract it states that she is to pay £14400 a year excluding VAT. The business is doing well and both parties are happy with the arrangement. However she has recently had a rent review and they noticed that they had only been charging her £14400 a year including VAT. She has checked her invoices and it states that she has been paying £1000 for the rent plus £200 VAT. So it appears that they have simply made an error on their part with how much they have been charging. They are now asking for £20160 a year for the next two year contract period to repay the £200 a month that they mistakenly had not charged her for the last two years plus the extra £200 at the new rate. This amounts to a 40% increase in rates. My question therefore is does she legally owe them this money considering she signed the contract but they miss charged her and would it matter if she simply decided not to renew the contract as it is unlikely she would be still able to make a profit at the new rates.
Kind Regards Chris

By Mari on July 26th, 2016

Hello, We have signed a lease for a premises which were in very bad state when took over, we did all repairs etc and in the contract it says to keep them “in repair” but doesn’t specify anything else than we need to decorate in the last three months. My questions is what “in repair” means in that case and because the building is old the roof is leaking a lot whose responsibility is it to solve the problem? (I have to say that this isn’t fully repairing and insuring lease) Before we signed the lease we’ve been told by the landlord that it was sorted but obviously we have been misled as it still leaks (heavily on some places) two years later. No clause in the lease says who is responsible for the repair of the roof or in fact for anything else.

And one more question, landlord bills us for electricity, water rates and building insurance but never provide (and even avoids to provide) actual bills and how are our bills have been calculated.
For the insurance lease says that fair proportion should be paid but I have no idea how fair is it when I never saw the policy or premium.
For the other bills lease says only that “tenant needs to pay all costs in connection with the supply and removal of electricity, gas, water, sewage, telecommunications and data and other services and utilities to or from the property”. Shouldn’t he at least show the bills and tell how does calculates our charges or should we just pay what he says we should?
Kind Regards

By Sharon on July 26th, 2016

I (tenant) want to terminate by business lease with the Landlord,but there is no break-clause in the Lease. Following a fire at the premises (the whole building is closed down due to a car running into the building) I have not been able to use/trade from the premises since the begining of July and it is unlikely that the building can be in a condition to be used for another 6-12months so I have had to move my business to another premise. Is there anything I can do to terminate the lease apart from negotiate with the Landlord as he is unwilling to terminate it.
Further I believe I have been paying him over £8,000/month over the normal market rate for the premises over the past 10 years, would I be able to challenge him on past rent?: should I go to the rent tribunal?

By ikram rizvi on July 29th, 2016


we took a company over in last year august and the company had a shop on lease for more than 6 years and only 5 more years left on lease.however now the landlord building an apartment at the back and he is asking for a unreasonable space from the shop to make an access to his apartment or he is gonna put the rent up from £21,000 to £28,000. can he actually do that. even if we pay that £28,000 can he take the shop back from us after the lease finish as it is a renewable lease? please advice me on this

Eagerly waiting to hear you!


By Amit Mittal on July 31st, 2016

I am having a commertial shop at rent and paying rent to landlord. We are paying rent for last 60 years now landlord wants to sell the property on market rate. The shop is not on the name of landlord.
Shop is not running very well so we asked him to sell this to us on lower rate but he doesn’t want this. Please suggest us. what rights ladlord is having to sell the property.

By tracy on August 2nd, 2016

can a commercial landlord sell or dispose of a tenants property, machinery, stock, recipes and paperwork etc which was trapped in a premises after a peaceful re-entry and changing the locks was carried during a period of time where a renewal of lease was offered and excepted allowing for monies owed by the landlord and tenant to be part of the renewal conditions of re-signing without a court order.

By Jacob J V Walker on August 3rd, 2016

Dear Ikram

Thank you for your query.

Your query relates to specific rights and obligations under a lease, and therefore I am unfortunately unable to advise you without sight of the lease in question.

If you would like to send us a copy of your lease, as well as any relevant correspondence with your landlord, I can arrange for a member of our property litigation team to contact you.

Kind regards

Jacob Walker

By Robert Burn on August 9th, 2016

Dear Sharon,

Thank you for contacting us.

Unfortunately, there is no case law providing that the destruction of, or substantial damage to, a property automatically brings the lease of that property to an end. However, there may be options available to you depending on the precise terms of your lease, which we would need to review in order to advise you properly.

If you would like us to look into your query in more depth, please send a copy of your lease to me at, and I will arrange for a member of our property litigation team to contact you.

Kind regards,

Robert Burn

By Matthew Astley on August 10th, 2016

Dear Amit

Thank you for your enquiry.

Given the nature of your query, including the length of time for which you have been paying rent, before being able to fully and properly advise you, we would need to speak to you to obtain further information. Moreover, we would also need to have sight of your lease and any other relevant documentation.

If you would like to discuss things further, please do not hesitate to contact me on the telephone number or email address listed below. Alternatively, you may contact a member of our Commercial Property team; to do so, please call 01772 258321 in the first instance and ask for a member of the team.

Kind regards

Matthew Astley
01772 429209

By Aziz on August 15th, 2016

I recently occupied a UNIT to run a small retail business however, we still waiting for the landlord to accommodate the facility e.g. toilet and kitchen for our day to day usage.
It means this promises has no facility to use and we are not running any profitable business from this place.

Do I still liable to pay rent and business rate.


By lorraine on August 16th, 2016

I owe the landlord 3 months rent I am now in a better position and offered to pay off all my arrears plus pay a further 6 months the landlord refuse and told me I have 4 days to move out which is impossible I asked for sometime to find somewhere else but was told they will turn off the electricity which means I am unable to run my business what can I do

By Joni on August 17th, 2016

I came home from vacation early to find an eviction notice taped to my rented beauty salon. I proceeded to pay my rent, but then stopped payment on it. I did pay a deposit when I moved in 13 years ago, to the son who was the landlord. He killed himself in the area along side my salon and now the father is the one who evicted me. Now his realtor wants me to pay the rent. I have found a new place and was out of his place 2 days before the actual eviction date. Do I have to pay the rent?

By Jack Stephenson on August 22nd, 2016

Dear Joni

Many thanks for your query.

Unfortunately I would need to see a copy of your lease, the eviction notice and any correspondence you have had with the landlord / realtor before I was able to advise you further.

Apologies I cannot be of more assistance, however please do not hesitate to contact me on 01772 429 207 or

Kind Regards

Jack Stephenson

By Laura Brereton on August 22nd, 2016

Dear Aziz,

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately we cannot give an answer on the basis of the information you have given as it depends on the terms of your agreement with your landlord. If you would like to discuss the matter further please call us on 01772 258331 and ask to speak to a member of our Property and Construction team.

Kind regards,


By Cathie Haydyn-Jones on August 23rd, 2016

Good morning, I have spent 5 months consulting with a landlord helping him with selling goods from a previous tenant, while researching a business venture I wished to undertake. For this help he offered me a unit to work from with him and we ventured into running a business together, a family member bought two cars for us to work on. We converted an old barn full of haulage bits into a working serviceable mechanical repair workshop and launched 3 weeks ago, (the landlord as I believed him to be working with us). Now the landlords mother is sabotaging the business and has locked me out seizing the third parties belongings. Stating she wants money from me. Can I legally invoice her for the work carried out if she is the landlord for the betterment of the property, as there is now a unit that could not have been rented before?

By Robert Burn on August 24th, 2016

Dear Cathie,

Generally speaking, if a person has unjustly received a benefit at your expense, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for restitution. However, in these circumstances, the possible existence of a lease complicates matters. As such, we would need to review any documentation relating to the ownership and use of the property before answering your question.

There is a second issue to be considered here, with regard to the third party’s belongings. It seems likely that you were in possession of them under what is known as ‘bailment’ which would mean you have a duty to look after them. You may have standing to bring a claim to recover them, although this depends on the terms of your agreement with the third party.

There are a number of issues at play in this scenario and, unfortunately, it is simply not possible to provide a complete answer here. If you would like to discuss the matter in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

Robert Burn
01772 429210

By Raj Manocha on August 31st, 2016

Hello, thanks for the above posts which makes tenants like myself more careful in leasing. I operates a leasehold business for last 5 years. I wanted to sell the business and fortunate enough to get a good buyer who is willing to take on the business with the lease. But the landlord is not giving his approval to assign the lease to the new buyer stating that he is not financially sound. The buyer himself is a chartered accountant and he has shared his accounts and guarantors status with me which looks a lot stronger than myself when I started 5 years ago. Not sure what to do and what are my options. My wife mainly looks after the business but as we got 2 very young children now she is not coping to continue the business and caused her mental strain for last few months. thanks for advice.

By john sibbons on September 1st, 2016

Hi there I have a 10 year lease 6 years remaining the landlord has applied for planning permission to develop the site within these plans is shows that I will need to give up two thirds of my premises, there is no provision for this in the lease

By Michelle Brooks on September 2nd, 2016

Hi I have a break option in my salon budiness lease
I have taken it and I gave 6 months notice as required.
I did say that if the landlord found a new tenant I would be happy to come out a month early – ie nov rather than Dec.
The landlord has found a tenant and said this is possible however – he is asking me if there is a service charge and a breakdown – what is this? Is it something that I can ask for as we offered to come out early so that the landlord doesn’t lose a tenant who wishes to be trading for Xmas
Many thanks in advance!

By Alex on September 6th, 2016

Good Evening,

Im after a bit of advise. My partner rented a small commercial unit at a garden centre, and there was some pre existing damage to the door which was noted on the tenancy and confirmed by letter and email. There was then an attempted break in at the unit, which we informed the landlord of. They are now witholding £500 from our deposit to repair damages to the door. In my understanding landlords are responsible for the exterior of properties, but not sure if this is in a residential tennancy.

Any help would be great.


By Mrs.Marshall on September 13th, 2016

I do collections for a commercial real estate company. We have a business owner who didnt pay the last month rent of their lease, nor did they leave the property in original condition as stated in lease agreement. She has now sold the business and its entity. Can i pursue the new business owner for the balance? Thanks

By T Shone on September 14th, 2016

Our City Council recently sold the freehold of several of the office buildings (on a commercial site) to a housing developer.
The previous ‘head leaseholder’ on the site went into administration which prompted the sale of their buildings.
The housing developer has now demolished these offices to build self contained flats.
We have had, for over 25 years, a 999 year lease for our area of the site which we signed with the City Council. Because we also required some land for signage we negotiated into our lease clauses giving us supply and access to our signage which is on the land now owned by the new freeholder. The new Freeholder does not want to honour any previous agreements in regards to signage (they want the area for their own signs) and their new build will be blocking off our already limited view of the road where our signs (and the entrance to the site) is.
Any suggestions?

By Matthew Handley on September 21st, 2016

We as commercial tenants already pay our combined liabilities & contents insurance,PAT testing and buildings insurance.
Our landlord has now asked us to pay for an “electrical installation report”. Are we legally bound to pay for this?

By Larry Henderson on September 22nd, 2016

I rent a commercial property which was sold last year with the adjoining offices which have now been converted into residential flats. The conversion work, over 12 months, has totally disturbed my business, and my clients who could not park in our dedicated car park. As a result I have lost clients. There is 12 months left on my release to I have grounds for a significant rent reduction ? I have many photos of the disturbance caused,and blocking of my car park.

By Debbie Birchmore on September 23rd, 2016

We leased a property from our local council in 2000 and despite some very unclear definitions that we fought out with their solicitor was very satisfied. In 2009 and nine the council handed all housing and commercial properties over to a housing association, They have been unwilling to do any repairs and when we last asked were told our lease had expired in 2011. we were told it was our responsibility to instigate renewing our lease (in 2014) which we did although refused to engage a solicitor until the new lease was prepared as didn’t feel it would be necessary until we had something to show them, two years on and still no lease and now have forms to fill in for the valuation office for rent and lease details that I can’t proceed with without a lease. We have continued to pay rent throughout and never missed payment and keep the property in good repair just not sure at all what to do next?? Please help……

By Susan Reed on September 23rd, 2016

I lease a retail shop for last 6 years, my lease break date is 1st Jan 2017.
The clause state:
The tenant my terminate the lease by serving written notice to the landlord at least 6 months before break date.
I have given my notice 4 months before date – can the landlord refuse my notice or just make me stay the full six months unit Mar 17?

By Gill Ashcroft on September 26th, 2016

Dear Susan,

Thank you for your enquiry.

As a general rule, break clauses are strictly construed and any conditions attached to them must be strictly performed. In respect of the time limit in the clause, time will usually be ‘of the essence’, unless the break clause in your lease states otherwise.

This would mean that the 6 months’ notice must be complied with and failure to give at least this would render your notice invalid. Consequently, your landlord could refuse it and make you stay for the remainder of the term.

If you would like to discuss the matter further please call us on 01772 258331 and ask to speak to a member of our Property and Construction team.

Kind regards,


By john taylor on September 28th, 2016

i have taken on a unit to store personal items but not using it for business am i liable to pay business rates and if yes due to it not being a business can i can a rates reduction ?

By Alex Walmsley on October 3rd, 2016

Hi John

Thanks for your enquiry.

Generally, the occupier of any non-domestic property, even if it is empty, will be liable to pay business rates in full unless an exemption applies to the property. If the property is non-industrial, for example a shop or office unit, there is a 100% relief of business rates for the first 3 months that the property is empty. However this must be applied for and there are many exceptions and exemptions which apply. I would need full details and instructions to properly advise.

In addition it seems that the property is unlikely to be classed as ‘empty’ even though the current use is not for business. Again, I need full details in order to advise as to this.

If you would like to discuss the matter further, please call us on 01772 258331 and ask to speak to a member of our Property and Construction team.

Kind regards


By Matthew Astley on October 5th, 2016

Dear Larry

Thank you very much for your query.

In order to be in a position to provide you with full advice, we would need to have sight of your lease and other relevant documentation. We would also need some further details about what has happened.

If you would like to discuss things further, you may contact a member of our Commercial Property team; to do so, please call 01772 258321 in the first instance and ask for a member of the team. Alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact me on the email address listed below.

Kind regards

Matthew Astley

By scotia on October 7th, 2016

Hi I run a spa room inside of a Hair salon and pay rent. no where in my lease does it say my hours have to match his but he won’t give me a key to the building, let me work later hours for special occasions or put a lock on my door to my spa room which holds my money and other personal equipment.
do I have the right to a key?

By Lex Hipkins on October 12th, 2016

I am in the process of negotiating to take over some retail premises for a new start up business. Obviously the amount of net and the length of the lease are the main issues that I need right (is there anything else that I should focus on?).
I have some capital funds put to one side so I was wondering if I could or should use this as part of my negotiation ie aim for lower rent and a shorter lease (as a start up I am uncertain of the business prospects) by offering to pay a large amount of the rent upfront?
Any other advice before I sign a lease would be appreciated.

By ahmed on October 15th, 2016

Hi I have been a tenant in a shop for 12 years without a lease. When I first took over the shop the lease completion was delayed but then it never materialised. As crazy as it sounds I have paid no rent for the last 12 years because the landlord has never asked me to!, where do I legally stand on this? Can the landlord turn up one day and demand the rent be paid in full for the last 12 years?, can he seize my stock? and change the locks overnight on the shop to prevent me opening the busness?

Thanks very much for your help

By Kyriacos Akathiotis on October 17th, 2016

I am a tenant with 20 years lease, which will expire on the 25th December 2016. After four years negotiations with the landlord, he finally decided to grand me a new lease but he asked £50000 premium. I had a meeting with him to negotiate and we end up paying him £17500 by cheque and £17500 when we get the new lease. After a month he sent the new lease to my solicitor. A week after he send me a notice to have the shop back. I call him and he said if I want a new lease he wants over £250000 premium for a new lease. For twenty years I’ve been in the shop I paid the rent on time, service charges on time as well as the insurance. I have a very successful business and I was going to spent £200000 in February for a refit. Please advice me.

By Emily Leeming on October 18th, 2016

Dear Scotia,

Thank you for your enquiry.

I have provided some general information below, based on the knowledge that I currently have of your situation. However, in order to be able to answer your questions accurately and to be in a position to provide advice, it is necessary for me to have sight of the terms in your lease.

A lease should specifically define the area over which you are given a right to occupy. This area tends to be referred to as “the demise”. The extent of the demise is important together with any rights granted to you over the remainder of th hair salon i.e. a right to pass through the hair salon in order to access the spa room. It is these factors, together with any restrictions placed on you, which would assist in establishing whether your landlord can refuse to provide you with a key to the building.

If you would like us to consider your lease or if you wish to discuss things further, please contact a member of our Commercial Property team on 01772 258321 in the first instance and ask for a member of the team. Alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact me on the email address listed below.

Emily Leeming

By A.bhatti on October 21st, 2016

Hi my friend and I rented a commercial property no lease just a verbal agreement and ran the business for couple of years now my friend isn’t interested in the business and has used up the money not paid rent for over 6 months and is not responding to the landlord or me,which is the sad part.But no hard feelings,What do I do about our goods that is in the unit and the locks have been changed,I have no access.we have customers goods such as cars. Has the landlord the right to sell our goods,we had no formal contract and I am not in a financial situation to recover arrears .not all but some of the equipment is mine ,so where dose one stand on this commercial equation,as slightly being the third party …..Manythanks..

By Robert Burn on October 21st, 2016

Dear Ahmed,

There are a number of interesting points raised by your query and we’d need more information from you in order to give you any specific advice.

What I can say is that the first port of call is to establish the basis upon which you are occupying the property, as this will assist with determining the rights and obligations of you and your landlord in relation to the queries you have raised. We need to know whether you have a lease, for which rent of some sort would most likely be payable, or if your occupation is under a licence arrangement, for which a licence fee may or may not be payable, dependent upon the agreement between the parties. Given the amount of time that has elapsed since you first occupied the property, determining the basis of your occupation may not be straightforward.

Assuming you do have a lease and rent is payable, then the Limitation Act states that the maximum period for which you can be liable is 6 years. Please note, if a lease had been completed by deed, this period would be 12 years. The same 6 year rule would apply to the recovery of any licence fee.

As to seizing stock and changing the locks overnight, the right to take action of this nature must be reserved by a written lease. If there is no written lease then it may be unlawful for your landlord to take such action and you may have recourse against him if he did. Your rights as to security of occupation if you have a licence are less secure.

Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to call 01772 258321 and ask to speak to a member of the Commercial Property team.

Kind regards,


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