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.

421 Comments

By deborah on January 26th, 2009

hi does a landlord need to give notice to a leasee if he is going to foreclose on the lease and does it need to go to court first i would like to know how long does the process take thanks deborah

By John Chesworth on January 26th, 2009

Hi Deborah

There are many distinctions between a lease of commercial property and one of residential property, one of which is the steps a landlord has to take before they forfeit or terminate a lease.

Commercial leases usually allow the landlord to forfeit the lease in the following circumstances:-

1. if rent remains unpaid over a specified number of days after it fell due;
2. where there has been a breach of any of the tenant’s other obligations in the lease;
3. if the tenant has become insolvent.

If a commercial landlord is forfeiting for non-payment of rent, they do not need to give notice first. If the landlord forfeits for any other reason, they must first give written notice to the tenant and a failure to do so will make the forfeiture unlawful. In either case a commercial landlord does not have to go to court, but this is an option available to them which landlords often choose if there is likely to be a dispute as to whether the tenant is in breach of its obligations under the lease.

If a commercial landlord forfeits for arrears of rent, they will often change the locks immediately. If they go to court, it will take at least 6 weeks to get a court order.

The landlord of residential premises is much more restricted when it comes to terminating the lease and cannot try and evict a tenant without a court order. It will generally take at least 8 weeks for a residential landlord to get a court order for possession.

I hope this helps.

By Katie Grange on January 27th, 2009

Hi there,

I am the owner of a sandwich bar who has recently been evicted from her premises through the lock changing method in which you have just described.

Basically, I have had a nightmare business relationship with my landlord for the past 8 months and eventually issued civil proceedings against him a few weeks ago under the grounds of harassment and various breaches of the lease, (including cutting off the telephone line which I bought with the businesses.)

When I originally bought the business we had agreed that I should pay my rent on a monthly basis, however when our business relationship started to faulter my landlord ordered that I pay the rent termly, which I agreed only to keep the peace.

However, when I started court proceedings in the past month I gave my landlord notice that I would revert back to paying monthly as I believed this to be the easiest solution whilst legal proceedings were taking place.

The next thing I know, I try to open my sandwich bar one morning and the locks have been changed and a bailiff notice in the window for outstanding rent arrears. To the best of my knowledge I am not in rent arrears because I have payed up to Febuary 14th 2009, and intended to make another monthly payment when it was due.

To make matters worse, a few days later there is a notice in my shop window stating that the business will re-open the following week. My landlord has evicted me out of my premises and now plans to run my business himself. Surely this is not legal?

I would really appreciate some advice as I really do not know where I stand in this situation and feel helpless.

Katie.

By John Chesworth on January 27th, 2009

Hi Katie

The starting point in any dispute of this nature is to look at the terms of the lease, and in order to advise you accurately I would need to see the lease. However, there are some general points which may be of use to you.

If, as you say, the right to use the telephone line came as part of the package when you took the lease of the premises, his actions in cutting off this line will be unlawful.

The lease should dictate the intervals for payment of rent. If it states that rent is paid monthly, and you have paid the rent due monthly then you have not breached the lease. A landlord who changes the locks when his right to do so has not arisen is breach of his obligations under the lease and will be responsible for loss caused to your business, and you can also ask the court for an injunction to allow you back into the premises.

If the landlord has taken a calculated step to take your business from you unlawfully, in the hope that you would not mount a legal challenge, a court would view this very dimly.

Even if there is some rent due, and the landlord has forfeited the lease lawfully, you still have the right to apply for what is known as relief from forfeiture. This is done by paying all rent due, and also the reasonable costs of the landlord and requesting the possession of the property back from the landlord. If he refuses, you can make an application to court who will order that possession is given back to you, if the application is made sufficiently promptly.

If you want some specific advice on your situation please give the office a call, and we can hopefully help you out.

By Claire on January 28th, 2009

Can a Landlord have a commercial lease for a property that is not zoned commerical (i.e. renting a barn for dog training). Also is it legal to make a commercial lease dependant on a Residential lease? In our case…we rent the barn on a property for the purposes of a dog club and he wants us to sign a commercial lease that he has tied into the house lease on the same property. His clause is that if the tenants move out of the house on the property, our lease also comes to an end. The property is not zoned commercial.

By John Chesworth on January 29th, 2009

Planning law and landlord and tenant law are governed by different rules and regulations, but the effects of each overlap.

The local planning authority will designate certain zones for different types of use. However, that does not mean that a specific property within a zone cannot be used for a purpose which falls outside the use designated for the zone. What you have to look at is the planning use permitted for the individual property. You can get details of this from the local planning authority.

Even if the local planning authority has not permitted a specific use for the property, it will be lawful to continue a use for the property which has been carried on continuously for the past 10 years.

With regard to your present situation, landlords and tenants are relatively free to come to a deal relating to the terms of leases, which could include a commercial lease being terminated where a residential lease also comes to an end. It sounds to me that you don’t want such a provision, so what you need to assess is what is the strength of your bargaining position? If you have a written lease of the barn at present that would need to be assessed, if not then you do have rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 which provide security of occupation for business tenants.

If you would like some further help on this please call the office as we will need some further details and documentation before we could avdise further.

By sue kiernan on January 30th, 2009

hi
i have a tenant in commercial premises who i inherited when i purchased the freehold.
his previous lease is coming to an end and he is refusing to sign a new lease as it is a full repairing even though i have agreed to exclude the ongoing repair issues,and to pay for them as and when they are completed, this is a trading business and so the repairs can only be carried out at certain times to minimise disruption.unfortunatly his previous lease was a one piece sheet of paper which didnt amount to much and i require him to sign a standard law society lease, he is now saying he will vacate the premises taking everything including the floor with him,
where do we go from here?????????
sue

By John Chesworth on January 30th, 2009

Hi Sue

If your exisiting lease was one sheet of paper, then it more than likely did not exclude the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act). This means that in order to create a new lease with standard commercial terms you will need to ternimate the existing lease by serving 6 months notice compliant with the Act and thereafter negotiating new terns if your tenant wants to remain in occupation.

The notice in question is a standard form and has to be served in a prescribed manner. Once the notice is served, the tenant will have the option to either renew their tenancy before the end of the notice or alternatively leave the premises and end the tenancy.

Give me a call if you need further help

By sue kiernan on January 31st, 2009

thanks very much for the advice,this is a great site,
thanks again
sue

By Ray Browning on February 12th, 2009

Hi,

Have a complicated one! I had a lease which expired. This was in the name of my limited company, but I also signed as a personal guarantor. Under this lease I signed the exclusion to the tennant act etc. This lease expired over a year ago and I negotiated a new 3 year lease, taking me personally off the lease, and only in the name of the limited company. However, this lease was never correctly executed as I forgot to sign it and it was returned to me to sign which I never did. I now find myself in position where I can’t continue running the company do to a substantial business downturn, adn I haven’t paid rent for the last two months. I am avoiding liquidation by paying everyone but the landlord is trying to hold me to the new three year lease, two years of which are remaining. Can I argue that as the new lease was never executed that the old lease still applies and I am on a month to month tenancy?

Thanks Ray

By John Chesworth on February 16th, 2009

Ray

I fully endorse your first sentence, this is a complicated one. However, I can give you some principles that will hopefully help.

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act)includes, amongst other things, provisions which allow for the continuation of a business tenancy even after the agreed term has ended, and also gives a business tenant the right to renew thier tenancy. In order to exclude the Act there is a procedure which involves the tenant giving a declaration that they undertsand the Act will not apply. It appears, that in relation to your first tenancy, this is what you have done.

Where the Act does not apply, the lease comes to an end on the last day of the term stated in lease. Where a tenant remains in occupation after the term is expired and continues to pay rent, a number of different scenarios can arise.

The first and most common is where the parties are negotiating the terms of a new lease, and for the time being do not intend to bind themselves to any other arrangment than a temporary continuation while negotiations continue. This is known as a tenancy at will and either landlord or tenant can terminate it at any time.

The second case is where the parties do nothing at all and the rent is continually paid and accepted. In this case a court can find that a periodic tenancy has arisen, which is based on the periodic payments of rent coupled with the exclusive occupation of the property by the tenant. A periodic tenany cannot be excluded from the Act, and will therefore, create rights for the tenant that they did not have under the orignal tenancy. Where the original tenancy was excluded from the Act, the courts are reluctant to find that a periodic tenancy has arisen, for the above reason.

The third scenario is where the parties have entered into a binding agreement for a new tenancy. The general rule is that an binding agreement for a lease for 3 years or less does not need to be in writing. However if the parties intend that the Act be excluded, the tenant must sign the relevant declaration before entering into the contract and the contract must contain a written provision excluding the Act.

Therefore, a key factor in your case will be whether or not the new tenancy was also to be excluded from the Act.

This is a complicated area of law, and I have outlined some basic principles that apply. If you would like us to provide some detailed advice specific to your problem, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

John

By Ray Browning on February 20th, 2009

Hi John,

Thanks for that very detailed reply. The new tenancy was to be exluded from the law as well – but I never signed that exclusion either. The landlord is not a happy camper at the moment.

Best

Ray

By anne on February 21st, 2009

we have just sold a leasehold hotel and unfortunately had to sign a rent guarantor for the buyers. they are having problems paying their next quarters rent due on 1st march.What are the procedures now and what are the time scales before they contact us?

By James Page on February 23rd, 2009

Hello,

Stumbled across this site and the previous answer which is similar to my situation. I signed a lease which was supposed to be contracted out of the 1954 act. The lease explicitly mentions this. However, I did not sign the contracted out “Health warning” or whatever it is called because I believed I was already covered by the act. Regardless of the latter, I signed the lease but as I said did not sign the contracting out health warning. Where does that leave the lease and what rights do tenant and landlord have? Surprisingly the landlord did not persue for signing of the contracting out notice. They gave me the 14 days warning etc. buit when I did not sign it I heard no more from them.

Thanks

James

By John Chesworth on February 23rd, 2009

Hi Anne

Due to the economic climate, your situation will be an ever more common problem. Where a guarantee is given for the rent due from a tenant there are statutory procedures which a landlord must follow if the lease was entered into after 1995.

Section 17 of the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 provides that the landlord can only obtain payment from a guarantor if they have first made a written request to the guarantor for payment. This request must comply with the provisions of the above section and importantly must be made within 6 months of the rent installment falling due. Once the request has been properly made then the guarantor will have to make payment, and could be pursued through the courts if they fail to pay.

The best thing to do for the time being is to keep your head down. There is a chance that the landlord will fail to give you notice within the 6 month period, and you will then avoid liability for that specific payment.

John

By John Chesworth on February 23rd, 2009

James

The fact that the contracting out procedure was not followed properly does not affect the validity of the lease if it was properly signed and completed. If you have signed the lease and it has been dated and completed by the landlord the lease will be binding, save for the contracting out clause which is only effective if the contracting out procedure has been adhered to.

The 1954 Act contracting out procedure requires that the tenant gives a written declaration prior to entering into the lease, whether or not it is a renewal. Where the declaration is given 14 days or more before entering into the lease, a simple written declaraion is given. If the declaration is given less than 14 days before the lease is entered into, then a statutory declaration made before a solicitor is required.

As you have not given the declaration, then there will be a binding lease but it will have the protection of the Act, which means you will have a right to renewal at the end of the term.

I hope this clarifies the position.

John

By Stuart on February 27th, 2009

I have a lease due to expire in 1 month. I have verbally agreed with the landlord that we will continue on a month-to-month basis with a notice period of 3 months from me and 6 months from my landlord. In this climate neither of us wish to be tied into a long fixed lease.

In the background there is an interested purchaser of the freehold who would like the premises for a similar business. We have discussed selling my business goodwill as a seperate entity and I have agreed this would be possible.

My concern is that they could just wait for the lease to expire, purchase the freehold and as my new landlord take possesion for themselves and negate having to purchase the business goodwill. Leaving me high and dry!

Are there any safeguards against this?

By John Chesworth on February 27th, 2009

Hi Stuart

In the comments above I have referred to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act) and this is central to your situation. As you are occupying the property for a business, and if the original lease was for over 12 months then you will have the protection of the Act unless steps were taken to exclude it by the contracting out procedure. This would have involved you signing a decelaration confirming you agreed to waive the protection of the Act.

If you have not contracted out of the Act then your lease will continue on until the landlord serves a notice under section 25 of the Act and this notice must be at least 6 months. When this notice is served you are entitled to apply for a new tenancy on terms which are either to be agreed or decided by the court.

If the property is sold the new owner could object to a new tenancy but only on limited grounds. For a landlord to object on the ground that they want to use it for their own business, there is a condition that they must have owned the property for 5 years previously which the new landlord will not be able to satisfy.

Another ground the landlord could use is that they want to carry out a substantial redevelopment of the property, but this has to be more than a mere facelift for the property. The other grounds either require some default on the tenant’s part, or an offer by the landlord of reasonably suitable alternative accommodation.

Therefore, if your tenancy is protected by the Act, and you have not defaulted on the terms of the tenancy, you should be fairly secure.

John

By Stuart on February 27th, 2009

Hi John

Thank you very much for your reply.

I took over the remaining 4.5 years of a 15 year lease and as I have not signed anything other than the original lease, I am quite sure that I have not made any agreement to waive my protection under the act.

That and the 5 year ownership condition you refer to (and that I have no defaults on my lease)have given me considerable peace of mind. Thank you.

Stuart.

By Susan Homes on March 5th, 2009

Hi, there, We have a chip shop at the rear of our Property. We lease part of the commercial property in the form of a garage. The leasehold is 999 year and £10 per year. The owner of the commercial property has recently started harassing us over his rights to access the garage for inspection purposes. The lease states we should allow the landlord access upon him ‘giving reasonable notice’ for the purpose of ‘inspection and repair’ throughout the said term. There are no repairs needed on the garage. It also states that we should have quite enjoyment of the property. It does not state a reasonably frequency of inspection. Although when we bought the property our conveyance stated once a year would be normal. However the business owner has stated he would like to inspect ‘once or twice’ per week. Unfortunately this would mean me having time off work to allow him access. What would you consider a normal frequency of inspection? Thanks Susan.

By John Chesworth on March 8th, 2009

Hi Susan

It is not unusual to have a lease with this provision and a balance must exist between the right of the landlord to carry out an inspection and your right to use and enjoy the property.

If the landlord’s right to inspect is expressly stated to be for the purposes of checking for disrepair, then it would seem unreasonable if the landlord checked one week and then wanted to recheck a few days later. The frequency of the inspection may well depend on the type of premises and what the tenant was doing in there.

If the landlord is using the right of access to try and harrass the tenant, as opposed to a proper and reasonably necessary inspection, then the courts would not sanction this. If there is no subsisting disrepair at the premises, once or twice a week does seem excessive.

John

By Joanne Cain on March 11th, 2009

Hi,
We have a bathroom and kitchen show room. Our insurance company have asked for a copy of the electrical certificate for the property and have threatened that if we do not provide this they will have no option but to cancel our insurance. Can you tell me who is actually responsible for ensuring the electrical certificate is carried out whether it is a landlord responsibility or a a tenant responsibility. Also how often does this need to be carried out.
I would be grateful for your advice.
Kind Regards
Joanne

By John Chesworth on March 11th, 2009

Hi Joanne,

This query will depend upon the terms of your lease. However, most commercial leases will place most if not all of the obligations relating to the day to day running of the premises on the tenant.

The lease may not specifically mention electrical certificates, but if there is a clause which states that the tenant shall comply with all laws statutes etc relating to the use of the premises, then this will cover any legal obligation to obtain the electrical certficate. Even if the lease does not contain this type of provision, there will be no obligation on a landlord by implication to obtain the electrical certificate, and if your insurer requires such a certificate then the onus will fall on you to obtain it to avoid your insurance being invalidated.

Not the answer you were hoping for I’m afraid, but again an illustration of the strength of position a commercial landlord holds.

John

By pat on March 13th, 2009

Hi,
i signed a 5 year lease £20000 pa rent. I am now in bad financial situation and have treid to get out of the lease by advertising for new tenants and even tried to get the landlord to end the lease but he is having none of it and demands we pay the remaining £80K to get out of the lease. We cant afford anything at the moment we are nearly bankrupt if our landlord kicks us out and changes the lock does that mean he can nolonger pursue us for the rent? i.e the remainder of the lease amount? please respond asap really need help here thanks

By John Chesworth on March 16th, 2009

Pat

If the landlord forfeits the lease by changing the locks, he terminates the lease and cannot claim future rent from you, although he will be able to claim any rent that may have fallen due at the date of termination.

So to be clear, if the landlord forfeits, he can claim for arrears but can’t claim rent which has not yet fallen due for payment.

I hope this helps.

John

By pat on March 16th, 2009

Thanks VERY much!!

By Terry on March 16th, 2009

I, along with about 30 others, had 6yr leases that expired over 4 years ago. The council markets manager told me that they have no staff at present to do it. Obviously its a lie. Therefore they have an ulterior motive. A new law has been put in force since 2003 and 2 of the 3 parts are currently being carried out. We are the 3rd part.Most of us have been there over 20yrs. See Hereford 2003 Law on google.
What security of tenure do we have?

By John Chesworth on March 17th, 2009

Terry

Under general law, if your lease is protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act) you have the right to ask for a new tenancy after your lease has expired by giving notice in the form prescribed by section 26 of the Act.

The landlord can only object to the application on certain grounds, which include an intention to possess the property for their own use, an intention to substantially redevelop the site and also, local authorities can object where a compulsory purchase order is in place in respect of the premises.

Having had a quick look at the Hereford Markets Act 2003, there is nothing there that immediately suggests to me that the landlord could oppose a new tenancy. If you want to force the issue, a section 26 notice could be served.

If you want me to have a look at your lease please fax it over to me on 01772 258227 along with a note of your number and I will give you a call to discuss.

Regards

John

By Lucy Wyre on March 30th, 2009

My business partner and I currently run a finance brokerage and having downsized the company and making all our staff redundant, we can no longer afford to struggle on with the rent. We tried in vain several months ago to negotiate with our landlord and he verbally agreed we could pay reduced rent to help us in the current climate and arranged on 3 separate occasions a meeting with us to finalise the details.

Each time he never showed up for the meetings and the day after it was too late to give notice he wrote to us quite smuggly saying “I’m glad you’ve decided not to give notice, and by the way your now tied in for another 12 months” As you can imagine, we were left extremely frustrated but knew their was absolutely nothing we could do.

We struggled on with the rent until now, where we physically now only have myself and my co-director operating the business. Last month we were 1 day late with the rent, and he sent the bailiffs in so we’ve been left with no choice but to remove all our belongings from the premises and basically up and leave.

We wanted to know where we stand with this, we are not in arrears at the moment but not intend to make any further payments either. (As i mentioned the lease expires 01/09/09 and this time round we have already given notice)Can they send bailiffs to our homes? (We haven’t signed any personal guarantees and we are a limited company)

If they took us to court and we had to pay the remaining rent we would have no choice but to close the company as are just about managing to keep our heads above water

We’ve got email proof from the landlord of when we asked to negotiate rent, and proof he made 3 appointments that he had no intentions of ever keeping etc, would a judge take any of this into consideration?

Kind Regards

By John Chesworth on March 30th, 2009

Hi Lucy

Sorry to hear of your problems, your landlord’s conduct in stringing you along to avoid you breaking the lease is morally objectionable, but there is not much in law that will provide you with an effective remedy. However, I hopefully have some good news.

If the landlord has instructed bailiffs to enter the premises you tenanted, and they have changed the locks, then this will be an act of forfeiture and any rent that falls due after this date cannot be claimed by the landlord. Therefore, if you are up to date on all payments that fell due before the forfeiture you do not need to make any further payments of rent.

With regard to action through the courts, where the tenant is a limited company, and there are no guarantors, the landlord can only take action against the company and can only pursue assets owned by the company. Therefore, if you and your co-director have not given personal guarantees and you do not have assets of the company at your home, there will be no grounds for bailiffs attending your homes.

I hope that gives you some comfort.

John

By Karl Swinyard on March 30th, 2009

Great site
We are negotiating a new lease and the council noted to us in there section 25 a (which we acknowledged the receipt of) new lease which would have the rent £10,900 from 2014 and a twenty year lease. We also have a rent review now they want £10,250 per annum and we have worked out there figure should be £9150 based on the ITZA rate. However when we agreed to the above offer of the new lease we were politely informed in an open email that the section 25 was badly drawn up and that they would be withdrwaing it and any calderbank offers, and that this could all go to court and cost alot of money.

I this correct about the section 25 and are its offer binding

Regards Karl

By John Chesworth on March 31st, 2009

Hi Karl

When a landlord serves a section 25 notice in a situation where they will not oppose a new lease, they are obliged to state the proposed terms upon which a new lease will be offered, the main ones being the initial rent and the length of the term. It is common for the other terms to be as per the original lease.

The landlord is not bound by these terms, and can change his mind at a later date. If the parties cannot agree the rent, you will have to make an application to court for a new tenancy and the rent will be decided by the court. The court will decide the starting rent on the basis of the the open market rent for the property, based upon the criteria set out in the 1954 Act.

The landlord cannot, however, unilaterally withdraw a section 25 notice that it has served. The service of a section 25 notice triggers your right to apply for a new tenancy, and you must ensure that if a new lease has not been completed by the termination date stated in the section 25 notice, you have protected your position by making an application to court.

If you need any further assistance on this issue please give me a call.

John

By Susan Peevor on April 5th, 2009

Hi John

Not sure if you can help me, I went to view retail premises last week to let as was planning on turning it into a hairdressing salon. After viewing and deciding I would take on the property the “landlord” told me it would be too expensive to draw up a proper lease and he would write out “a mutual agreement” on a piece of paper for us both to sign.

In hindsight I was probably a little naive, however at the time was relieved I wasn’t being tied into a long lease. I paid him £1000 cash deposit.

The piece of paper reads:

“I …(landlord name) have granted a 12 mth let for (shop address) to (me the tenant). A rent free period has also been granted for 6 wks from 01/04/09. The rent for the property is £500 pcm payable in advance. The tenant will be responsible for all the utilities in the property and keeping it in a good state. The tenant will pay a deposit of £1000 which is held as a security bond. After the 12 month period has passed, the tenant has the option to renew for a further 3 year period at a negotiated rent.

It is then signed by him and myself and dated.

Since then I’ve had workmen in to begin refurb of the shop and have now been told the boiler is over 20 years old and condemned. In addition to this it would appear when checking out land registry that he hasn’t legally split the property into 2 separate dwellings. (There is a flat above which is called “2a”) The property sits on one title and the fuse board to “my shop, number 2″ is in flat 2a’s entrance which i dont have access to!!

I have flat 2a’s immersion heater in my shop and I asked him where my immersion was and he said “well you’ve obviously not got one if there’s no hot water”

I explained i felt very mislead as he had not pointed any of this out to me when viewing the shop. Surely he has a duty as a landlord to make sure the shop has a safe working boiler and safe electrics?

I have called him today to tell him it’s going to cost thousands to put just the basic boiler and electrics straight and he’s told me that’s my problem now as I took the property on “as it was seen” and I’ve now entered a legal agreement for 12 months.

He has said i cannot have my deposit back and if i dont like it to seek legal advice.

I feel terribly foolish but dont know where i stand with this and i think he knows this so is playing on it.

What would you advise?

Susan

By John Chesworth on April 6th, 2009

Hi Susan

There is a legal principle called “caveat emptor” which is Latin for “buyer beware” and this principle is a fundamental principle of property transactions. Once you have entered into a property transaction, you are stuck with what you get. Therefore, any investigation you wish to make in respect of the property must be carried out before being legally bound into the property deal.

A survey of property is recomended in any property deal even short term lets, as the tenant will usually be asked to agree to have some responsibility for the repair of the property and it is wise to establish the extent of any physical disrepair at the property. If you find out there is a problem after you have entered into a business tenancy, then it is generally too late. The landlord does not have an obligation to flag up any shortcomings at the property, and he will only be reponsible for repairs if he has agreed to do so.

As you have agreed a 12 month term you are liable for the full 12 months rent, unless the landlord accepts the property back. Therefore, I suspect the landlord will keep the deposit to cover rent payments and potentially you will be liable for all payments throughout the 12 month period if it remains vacant.

I appreciate this is not news you will want to hear, but it does illustrate the need to get good advice before taking a business tenancy.

Regards

John

By Susan Peevor on April 7th, 2009

Thanks John, so even though i’ve not signed a “formal” lease, that informal piece of paper will still make me liable?

Kind Regards

Susan

By Liz on April 10th, 2009

Hi,
My partner rents premises which we use as a storage/workshop. He has been in dispute with the landlords for some time as no contract with the agreed terms has been provided or signed, and has not paid rent for a while. Landlord took a case for unpaid rent against him which was struck out. They have now sent bailiff in and changed the locks. I had been storing a lot of personal possessions there (having recently moved) and a lot of my shop stock. Can you advise on what to do to get access to my goods?
Thanks
Liz

By John Chesworth on April 10th, 2009

Hi Liz

There are a few issues that arise here. Where no written lease exists then the landlord is in a much weaker position than he would be as standard commercial leases give the landlord a string of rights and remendies against the tenant. One of those rights is forfeiture. Forfeiture is the right of the landlord to terminate the lease by entering onto the premises, usually through bailiffs, and changing the locks. My colleague Owen McKenna will look at this in more details in our next blog.

However, where there is no written lease, there will be no right of forfeiture. Therefore, on the face of it, if your partner had an ongoing tenancy and the landlord has changed the locks, this will be an unlawful eviction.

Even if the landlord has lawfully changed the locks, he has no right to keep your possessions locked in the unit. You should contact him to make an appointment to collect your goods. If he refuses put the request in writing and ask for an appointment to be confirmed within 7 days. If he does not oblige you will be able to apply to court for an order seeking the return of your goods.

I would be glad to act for you if you cannot reach an amicable resolution, if you need any further assistance please give me a call.

Best of luck

John

By Liz on April 14th, 2009

Thank you John for your very clear and kind advice.

What a brilliant site.

Liz

By Liz on April 15th, 2009

Hello John,

Bailiff is claiming this is not an illegal eviction. Where there is no signed lease he says the right of re-entry exists under common law and the Rent Act 1988. It is also claimed that the landlord is entitled to his rent under Human Rights Act.
Can you give me any more info.
(I emailed you colleague before I realised I could contact you again. Sorry)
Liz

By shaz on April 24th, 2009

i bought a chip shop on leasehold in 2006 and now the buisness is not doing so well and i am struggling paying my bills and the rent is also high. i have tried selling the lease but no one wants it because the rent is so high and my landlord wont sell me the freehold until the agreement finshes 2016 help me out

By paul on April 25th, 2009

Hello sir,

I have resided at my current premises for the past 10 years and I have 6 years remaining on the lease. Over that period of time my Landlord has been a nightmare. In a nutshell, I was stabbed inm an unprovoked attack by a man with mental problems who occupies the flat directly above my shop whilst I was in business. The Landlord who owns the residential flat which the man occupies also owns my commercial unit. I have been in hospital for sometime since the incident and have been paying my rent over this period.

However, I and have recently left Hospital and I informed the Landlord that I wish to return to the shop. The man who attacked, has served time in prison and to my shock due to him receiving social benefits whilst in prison, the Landlord had allowed him to come back to the flat.

I have recently requested that the landlord take steps to remove the man due to be be unable to have the “peaceful quiet enjoyment of my premises whilst he is living above my shop” I have witheld one quarter’s rent because I need to know if the man will be removed and the landlord has just this week without notice forfeited the lease on the shop. He has changed the locks on the door, and put a notice in the window. Can you offer any advice?

By John Chesworth on April 27th, 2009

Paul

This is an awful state of affairs, and I am sorry to hear of your injuries.

The first thing to consider is whether or not the landlord’s actions in forfeiting the lease are lawful. Firstly, there must be a forfeiture clause within the lease, which will be there if the lease was professionally drafted. The lease will normally state that if rent remains unpaid for in excess of a specified number of days the landlord may enter the premises and terminate the lease.

Whilst you have a complaint against the landlord this does not necessarily allow you to withhold rent. Many rent clauses will state that the rent is to be paid without deduction or set-off, in which case the tenant must pay the rent and raise any complaint with the landlord separately.

In brief if the lease states that you were obliged to pay the rent without set-off or deduction, and it contained a forfeiture clause which the landlord has complied with his actions will be lawful.

If you want to get back into occupation of the property, you will need to pay the arrears of rent and the cost of the forfeiture to the landlord, who then has to allow you back into the property if he has not re-let it.

With regard to your complaint, you are right to point out that a tenant has a right to quiet enjoyment of the tenanted premises. If the landlord or anyone acting under their authority, interferes with this right then the landlord will be in breach of this provision. If the landlord is aware that the upstairs tenant has committed an assault againt you in the shop previously, there is a good argument that he is in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment.

However, this is the type if case that cannot be advised upon properly without a full consideration of the facts. If you would like us to take this case on for you, please get in touch.

Regards

John

By paulswall@live.co.uk on April 27th, 2009

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your advice. I am very grateful for your kind assistance.

I will contact you directly to discuss the options of you taking on this case for me.

Warm Regards,

Paul

By Denis on April 28th, 2009

Hi John

I have a newsagents/off licence which ive been running for a little over 5 years. i never missed a payment of rent up to last month where im in arrears for 1months rent. i have spoken to my landlord about the difficulties that im facing but it seems it goes in one ear and comes out of the other without really registering. The lease has another 7-8years left and its on my sisters name which she has nothing to do with for the last 3years. when she signed the lease we had to give £6000 deposit. Last week without a warning and knowing full well of the circumstances he sent a bailiff to seize the goods in my shop. we paid half of the amount owed for 1months rent arrears ( which didnt really go to him as the bailiffs charge was about £500). i have spoken to him on the day and he agreed to pay half of the bailiff fee. few days after i decided to close the shop down temporary for a week untill i had raised the money to pay him, with his full knowledge of my action. and today i recieve a phone call from one of my neigbours to say that the landlord was changing the locks without any warning. I have read ur response on another post above and u advised and i quote ”If the landlord has instructed bailiffs to enter the premises you tenanted, and they have changed the locks, then this will be an act of forfeiture and any rent that falls due after this date cannot be claimed by the landlord. Therefore, if you are up to date on all payments that fell due before the forfeiture you do not need to make any further payments of rent.” does this mean that if i decide to close the business down will i not be liable for the future rent? and if i clear the arrears that i owe, will i be able to get my deposit back? i still have stock and personal belongings in the property , will i be able to get them back? thanks in advance for your advice and help.

denis

By John Chesworth on April 28th, 2009

Denis

If the landlord had changed the locks to your shop as an act of re-entry in accordance with his right to forfeit then this will have terminated the lease and the responsibility to pay future rent. However, you will be liable for any rent payments that fell due up to the date of forfeiture, even if you were paying in advance for a month and the landlord forfeited on the second day of that month.

You are entitled to your goods back out of the shop, and the landlord must allow you reasonable access to do this.

If the deposit was taken purely to guard against arrears of rent then you will be entitled to it back if all arrears have been paid. However, sometimes a deposit also covers the cost of carrying out repairs that the tenant was responsible for, if this is the case he may try and withhold it for this purpose. There should be some mention of the deposit in the lease or a seperate rent deposit deed which governs the repayment of the deposit.

Also, you should notify the local authority and any utility suppliers that you no longer occupy the property and possession has been retaken by the landlord.

Regards

John

By Denis on April 28th, 2009

thanks for ur advise john.
most of the solicitors that i have asked gave me negative replys about this situation. if you can, can you please point me to which laws that could back me up or use if the other party fails to acknowledge the points u raised? i have stopped going to my solicitor and id like to ask you if needed, can i get in touch with you regarding this matter directly and for representation? and what is the key legalese words that i should be looking for on the lease..

Thanks again

Denis

By Denis on April 29th, 2009

hi again john

Just spoke to a solicitor here and he’s either oblivious to what you have advised me on or just plain ignorant. He tells me that even though the landlord have changed the locks he can still take me to court or can come up with different excuses to keep me on the lease and get more money for the services he hired, whether its bailiffs fee or surveyors… is it possible to confirm this with you? Does he have any valid points? i have done some research after your advise and found what you have said was repeated by others that when the landlord changes the locks it terminates the lease.. so can you clarify this for me please? i thank you in advance for your help.

denis

By John Chesworth on April 30th, 2009

Denis

Many thanks for your last two posts. Landlord and Tenant law is a specialised area and not all solicitors will be versed in its complexities.

However, the law is very clear that once a landlord has terminated a lease by forfeiture then the liability for future rent ceases.

If you would like me to take on your case, please give me a call at our Preston office, the number is at the top of the page.

Regards

John

By Denis on May 4th, 2009

thanks again for your clear advise on my matter John.. A little update.. I have spoken to my landlord and offered him 3options.. 1 if he was to reduce the rent on the new lease ( he was made aware of the old lease being terminated with his act of forfeiture ) then i would re-open my business with a new lease.. 2, If he were to give/sell the lease to someone else, then whoever moved in will have to pay me for the equipment that is in there, to this he gave me the most stupid answer, because this guy used to own the business and sold it to the people ive bought it from, he seems to think that some of the shelving and a fridge belong to him?? I tried to get through to him by explaining that when you buy/sell a business you buy/sell whatever comes with the business, please correct me if im wrong. and 3 was to give me access so i can empty out the premises and take my belongings. Now today i went to meet him at the premises to talk to him and pay him the outstanding money for the rent and also get personal belonging 1 of which was my cheque book ( VAT wants money ). He was waiting outside the shop when i arrived and i asked him if we could get inside the premises as i had to get my cheque book and i didnt wanted to hand him any money on the street. to this he refused and claimed i owe him more than my estimations. and untill i pay him the amount he wanted he wont open up or give me access.. my rent is due 21st of every month in advance. i owe him from 21st march to 21st april, which i was ready to clear. but he changed the locks on 27th April effectively forfeiting the lease. he believes i must pay him for the whole month which is not fair at all because he has changed the locks few days after the new month commenced. Can he do this? i offered to pay for the days we were in the premises up to the forfeiture but everytime i suggest or offer something the only thing he says is to talk to his solicitor. he is being unreasonable and I dont know if you have gathered but he is a real pice of work. My question is this. can i sue him for refusal of acces? or anything judging from his actions?
I tried to be clear with the update so you know my side of the story. Any Suggestions? i want to handle this myself before i phone you up john as this will be a good way to educate myself so nothing like this will happen to me again. i thank you for your past advise and appericiate your help.

Denis

By John Chesworth on May 6th, 2009

Denis

Dealing with the first issue, if rent fell due on 21st of the month and your landlord forfeited on 27th of the month, all of the rent that was due to be paid on 21st is payable to the landlord and he could sue you for it. I know this sounds unfair, but it is tried and tested law.

Secondly, yes you can take court action to recover your belongings. This would take the form of an injunction application which is a fairly complex piece of legal work and can cost in the region of £5,000 in legal fees, including the injunction hearing, due to the time involved in this type of application.

It will be tricky to deal with on your own, if you are to go down this route I strongly suggest you get a lawyer on board. However, I do appreciate that the cost may be prohibitive. Have you checked any of your business insurance policies to see whether you have legal expenses cover for disputes of this nature?

Regards

John

By Doreen Devlin on May 28th, 2009

We vacated our commercial unit at the end of January 2009 after giving notice and with the rent fully paid up. Unfortunately, we left behind a large and expensive parasol and base in the landlord’s shed. This had been placed there with the landlord’s permission during the tenancy. As we are fruit and vegetable sellers, the parasol is used in the summer to shade the produce. Now, as the weather is getting hotter, I remembered where the parasol was and contacted the landlord. He informed me that he didn’t know who the parasol belonged to and he had put it in the skip because it was damaged. He said he had asked everybody on site if it belonged to them before doing this. He has obviously conveniently forgotten that he gave us permission to put the parasol in the shed. As it was purchased last summer and had been used very little, I cannot believe he has put it in the skip, nor that it was damaged. It certainly wasn’t when it was put in there. Is there anything we can do? I am not hopeful because how would we prove anything? Doreen

By John Chesworth on May 28th, 2009

Hi Doreen

If somebody has given permission to you to store goods on their property, they do not have the right to dispose of those goods as your former landlord has done. The proper course of action for the landlord to have taken would have been to contact you and ask you to collect the parasol.

By throwing it away he has interefered with your possession of the parasol, and is liable to compensate you for the cost of a replacement. If he refuses to pay you can issue a small claim at your local county court. If the judge is satisfied after hearing evidence from you that you did in fact leave the parasol in the shed and it was in good condition, and the landlord admits he threw it away, then you should be awarded compensation. You will need some evidence of the costs of a replacement, a brochure or quote from a supplier should be sufficient.

I hope this helps

Regards

John

By Doreen Devlin on May 28th, 2009

Thank you John. That’s very helpful.

Regards.

Doreen

By Tracy on May 30th, 2009

Hi John, we have a commercial lease which was taken March 07 for 3 years, we stupidly signed a personal guarantee for it. We have paid the rents on time etc and have never had a problem, however due to the economic downturn we are starting to struggle. Is is possible that my landlord may renogotiate the lease (mainly the guarantee!) as there are a few empty units on the industrial estate where we are, so surely some rent is better than it being left with no-one in it?

By Owen McKenna on June 1st, 2009

Hi Tracey

The ability to renegotiate the terms of the lease will very much depend on the bargaining position of the parties. If your landlord has a number of empty units on its industrial estate it may be reluctant to lose you as a tenant. Empty premises mean that the landlord will not be getting a rental income, and depending on the size of the unit, will also be liable for empty premises rates. As the contractual term of your existing lease is due to expire in less than 12 months time, the landlord may be keen to discuss variations of the lease terms so that it can secure you as a tenant going forward. It is worth remembering that you can vacate the premises at the end of your lease and the landlord may be keen to discuss the position with you so as not to have to incur the costs of remarketing the premises and other inducements that would need to be given to a new tenant entering into a lease.

I do feel however that the difficulty you will face is the issue of the personal guarantee. The landlord will be concerned to ensure that the tenant pays the rent on time and performs the tenant’s obligations in the lease. In my experience, As soon as a tenant discloses to a landlord that it is struggling the landlord will want to ensure that it has as many avenues as possible open to it to recover any rent arrears. Therefore it is likely that the landlord will be reluctant to lose the benefit of the personal guarantees and if it is may require other forms of security instead i.e. rent deposits, bank guarantees.

Kind regards

By Anne on June 19th, 2009

My husband and I sold our leasehold business as a going concern last November.Due to this economic situation we are worried the new person could go out of business. Can you tell us if we are still classed as the ‘head leasee’ and if so can we get insurance to cover us for the landlord of the business persueing us IF the current leaseholder goes out of business.
Thank in advance.

By John Chesworth on June 22nd, 2009

Hi Anne

If you sold your business and also the right to occupy the business premises under an exisiting lease, then I presume you will have entered into an assignment of an ongoing lease.

The law relating to the liability of former tenants under an ongoing lease is different for leases granted after 1 January 1996 when the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 will apply.

If the lease under which the current tenant is occupying was entered into before 1 January 1996, then you will remain liable for all of the tenant’s obligations as long as the lease continues.

If the lease was entered into after 1 January 1996 then you will only be liable if you have entered into an authorised guarantee agreement commonly referred to as an AGA.

It is more than likely you will have obtained the landlord’s written consent to assign the leasehold interest to the purchaser of the busines. The AGA is commonly contained within that formal consent document.

If an AGA has been given to the landlord then you will remain liable for any default of the person you sold your business to. I suggest you contact the solicitor who sold your business for you to check on this position.

With regard to insurance, I have asked around the office and none of us are aware of any insurance policies available for the potential liability you face. In my opinion, the risk that an insurer may have to pay out is far too great for them to consider covering that eventuality.

Let’s hope the purchaser of your business can manage to trade through these testing times

John

By Jack on July 1st, 2009

My wife and I leased a stable block commencing on 4th July 2008 on a 6 month lease. We have continued to rent the stable block for a further 6 months without a new lease, and have tried to negoiate a lower rent before signing a new lease, but the landlord has refused. Having examined the original lease, what we signed was an assuerd tenancy agreement for a residential dwelling.
the Landlords agents say we have to give a months notice in writing, is this correct, or can we just leave, as we have paid the rent in advance?

By John Chesworth on July 7th, 2009

Jack

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you on this one.

An assured shorthold is a form of tenancy that relates to a residential dwelling and is not appropriate for a stable block. However, if this matter were considered by a court they would probably decide that there was an enforceable agreement for a 6 month period and that after that the legal relationship would be either a tenancy at will or a periodic tenancy.

A tenancy at will exists where the parties have not yet decided to enter into a new tenancy, but the tenant is allowed to occupy the property. It commonly exists at the end of a fixed term tenancy were the parties are in negotiations relating to the terms of the new tenancy.

A periodic tenancy exists where the parties have decided that the tenancy will carry on, say from week to week or month to month. It is quite often implied from the basis upon which rent is paid. If a tenant is allowed exclusive occupation of a property and the rent is agreed at a certain sum per month and nothing further is said about the length of the tenancy period, then a court would imply that a periodic tenancy has arisen.

The key difference for you is that a tenancy at will can be terminated without notice, whereas a monthly periodic tenancy can only be terminated by 1 month’s notice with that notice ending on the last day on the monthly period.

There is no black and white answer as to whether the tenancy will be a tenancy at will or a periodic tenancy. If there is some evidence of ongoing negotiation regarding the rent from the end of the initial 6 month period up to now, then that suggests a tenancy at will. However, if nothing was said after the end of the initial tenancy and you continued to pay the monthly rent for a number of months, a court may well hold that a periodic tenancy has been created, in which case a month’s notice will be required.

I hope this helps.

John

By Robert on September 2nd, 2009

Hi, we sold our retail business some 3 years ago but retained ownership of the buildings. The first lease period was for 1 year with a renewal clause at completion, including the right to buy the property at the market value. The lease was continued for a further 2 year period and is now coming to an end (November). Should the tenant have wished to buy the property, he should have informed us of his intentions 3 months prior (which he did not and has now expired) so he now has two options: to renew the lease or to vacate the property. We have contacted him to ask what his intentions are, but he will not give any answer one way or another. We believe he has the right to go completely to the end of the lease period and vacate, if he so choses, or if he goes but 1 day over, he has to give us 3 months notice. If he choses to stay (tenants right I believe) what power do we have to impose a new lease on him? We intend keeping the same terms (less the automatic right of purchase, which he had plenty of opertunity to persue). We may look at the possibility of a rent review (our previous agent tells us he got a bargain price), but would be happy to simply gain a bit of security from a decent term lease with inflationary reviews possibly included. Thanks in advance.

By John Chesworth on September 10th, 2009

Hi Robert

Your e-mail arrived during my holiday, so apologies for the delay in responding.

Working on the assumption that the lease was not contracted out of the protection conferred on tenants by Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (‘the Act’)then you are correct to say that the tenant has certain rights. The potected tenant has the right to remain in the property until the landlord serves at least 6 months’ notice to terminate under section 25 of the Act. Until such notice has expired the tenant can, if they wish, stay in the property. Once a section 25 notice is served the tenant has a further right to apply to court, before the end of the 6 month period, to ask for a new tenancy.

Of course a tenant does not have to stay in the property if they don’t want, and if they have vacated before the lease term ends then that is the end of the matter. You correctly point out that if the tenant remains in occupation a day over the end of the contractual term of the lease, then they can only terminate the lease themselves by giving 3 months notice.

The way for a landlord to force the issue is for them to serve notice under section 25 of the Act. The tenant will then have to either apply to court for a new tenancy, or their tenancy will end 6 months from service of the notice and they will have to leave. If you want to speed matters up further, you as landlord can issue an application to court as soon as you have served the section 25 notice asking the court to decide the terms of the new lease. A court application would probably take about 6 months if it went to trial, however, if the tenant is not serious about taking a new lease they will probably tell you so early in the process.

The procedure is fairly complex and I would suggest you enlisted professional help. If you would like to discuss my firm acting on your behalf please give me a call.

Regards

John

By Steve Owen on September 17th, 2009

Hi
We have occupied some offices for just over 2 years. When we went in the landlord presented a 3 year lease and a document to make this outside the Landlord and Tenant Act. We didnt sign as there was some work outstanding to part of a roof. We nevertheless occupied paying rent on a quarterley basis. The roof eventually was done about 9 months ago. The landlord then raised the question of us signing the lease but to be honest this never came about. Due to the economic situation and change of business needs we no longer need the offices. We have explained this to the landlord and let him know we wish to leave at the end of the month. He then sent us a letter saying that we would have to pay the rent until the end of the lease i.e. until next March and he would be serving a dilapidations notice. A few days later a second letter arrived saying he had taken advice and we were occupying on a periodic tenancy and would have to pay until the end of the year. I had thought we were in effect tenants at will and stated so to him.
Do you think we are best to pay the outstanding quarter rent?
Any comments gratefully received

By John Chesworth on September 18th, 2009

Hi Steve

The question of whether someone is occupying as a tanant at will or periodic tenant is never a question that can be answered with absolute certainty. The court has to decide from the surrounding circumstances what type of tenancy has been created, and infer from those facts what the parties actually intended. It is one of those issues where you can present the same facts to two different lawyers and get two different answers and for this reason disputes of this nature can quite easily end up in court.

A tenancy at will often arises where the parties have not yet completed a written lease and there is often something that is standing in the way of that happening, sometimes because all of the terms have not yet been agreed, but there could also be a legal formality that has to be completed before the parties are ready to enter into the relationshiop of landlord and tenant.

It has been held in a case where a tenant was seeking to argue they had a periodic tenancy, that the fact the landlord insisted that the tenancy was to be outside of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act), meant that the parties could not have intended to enter into a periodic tenancy before they had followed the procedure to exclude it from the Act. For this reason it was held the tenant occupied as a tenant at will. However, as with all case law, this was decided on its own particular facts and in this case the tenant had remianed in occupation after the end of a lease which had been outside the Act, and the Landlord’s evidence was that they would never had considered granting a lease that had the protection of the Act.

If you had only been in occupation of the property for say 6 months, I think you would have a strong case in arguing that you occupied as a tenant at will. However, time is a big factor in these cases, and you are 2/3 through the agreed term of 3 years and had been occupying in the knowledge that there was a lease ready for signature. To advise in more detail knowledge of all the communications passing between you and your landlord would be required, but even then for the above reasons, a definitive answer could not be given due to the uncertainty if the case went to trial.

With regard to repairing obligations, under a tenancy at will there are no implied repairing obligations other than the tenant is not to damage the property. If there was a periodic tenancy then it is probable that the repairing obligations in the draft lease would be implied into the terms of the tenancy.

I think this could go either way and each party has a risk if it went to court. My suggestion would be to seek some form of compromise from the landlord. Paying something now could save potentially thousands of pounds if the matter were litigated. I suggest that you only pay the next quarter’s rent if you have reached agreement with the landlord that it will be in full and final settlement of any claim he may have against you.

If you want us to look at your case in more detail and advise, I would be hapy to consider the documents and report back to you with a suggested strategy for a fixed fee. Please give me a call if you are interested in this option.

Regards

John

By Tracey on September 18th, 2009

Hi
We bought a Newsagents May 2008 and signed a 3 year lease with the landlord. We realised in March/April this year that we were getting into difficulties and asked to see the landlord to discuss it. We saw him and asked what options there were. He said they would not surrender the lease as it was owned by a pension scheme. They would not reduce the rent but agreed we could pay the rent on a monthly basis.
We have been doing this and have not missed any payments, we have put the business up for sale but we are now really struggling and cannot continue to keep the business open much longer.
We are not in debt with anyone else but are not a ltd company. What we are therefore worried about is that if we close the shop and are unable to carry on paying the rent are we at risk of losing our house?

Thanks Tracey

By John Chesworth on September 22nd, 2009

Hi Tracey

Sorry to hear about your predicament.

Unfortunately if you have signed a 3 year lease in your own name then you will remain personally liable for payment of the rent unless you can find someone else who is willing to take on the lease through a business sale. The other option would have been to seek to agree a surrender, but I see the landlord has already rejected this.

If you closed the shop and could not pay the rent, and the landlord did not take any steps to retake possession of the shop before the end of the term, he would be entitled to payment of the rent and any other sums due under the lease until the end of the term. If you stopped paying the rent and the landlord sent in bailiffs to change the locks thereby retaking possession, that is likely to be an act of forfeiture and would terminate any future obligation to pay rent. Sometimes, landlords do fall into this trap and let the tenant off the hook in the long term. However, even in the scenario the tenant will remain responsible for amongst other things, any past arrears of rent, the costs of the forfeiture, and any compensation that may be due if repairs have not been carried out.

If the landlord fully understands his legal position and doesn’t have another tenant waiting in the wings, then they may well simply sit tight and let the rent build up. They can pursue you for the arrears either through the county court in a debt claim, and may even commence bankruptcy proceedings against you.

Once a county court judgment has been obtained, it can be secured by a charging order on your property which acts like a second mortgage. In certain circumstances a court may order that a property subject to a charging order should be sold.

The best scenario for you is to find another tenant for the property, if they are able to make a go of the business and pay the rent, then you will be in the clear. If not, then you will have to find some way to pay the rent otherwise you will be at the mercy of the landlord.

If things do get to a stage where you fear you may not have sufficient income to meet your liabilities then I suggest you get some debt counseling and the Citizens Advice Bureau provide an excellent service in this respect.

I am sorry I can’t give any more optomistic advice on this one.

Best of luck

John

By Tracey on September 23rd, 2009

Thankyou so much for your response. We have someone that has been looking round the shop this week so we are keeping fingers crossed.

If we have to close as I have a full time job we are going to offer a regular payment to landlord and start doing so immediatley (albeit nowhere near the full amount)hoping that the court will look favourably on this, will this be the case?

By John Chesworth on September 28th, 2009

Hi Tracey

If you do close the shop and the landlord takes you to court for the arrears of rent, he will be entitled to a court judgment. However, you can ask the court to make an installment order paying what you can reasonably afford from your disposable income on a periodical basis, say monthly or weekly.

The fact that you have offered this before court proceedings will go down well with the court, if it comes to that.

Best wishes

John

By Terri Hills on October 10th, 2009

We have terminated our commercial lease and are suing the landlord for breach of contract due to derogation of grant, misrepresentation and breach of the the covenant for quiet enjoyment. We paid a deposit of £1,500, which the landlord’s solicitor now says they will draw on, as we have ceased paying the rent. Is it legal for the landlord to draw on the deposit even when the lease is subject to legal proceedings and in dispute?
Please advise,
Terri Hills LLB(Hons) Director, Moondancer CIC.

By John Chesworth on October 12th, 2009

Hi Terri

Often in commercial leases where a rent deposit is paid, the landlord and tenant enter into a written agreement called a rent deposit deed. That agreement sets out the times when a landlord can draw from the deposit and also for the return of the deposit when the lease ends. If you have entered into such an agreement you will need to consider that carefully as it will govern what happens with the deposit money.

Suject to what is said in any rent deposit deed that may exist, and based upon standard practice, it is unlikely that your landlord can lawfully take rent payments from the deposit if the lease has been lawfully terminated, for the following reasons.

If a tenancy is terminated lawfully by either the tenant or the landlord, the right to any payment of rent that would fall due after that date ceases. Therefore, if you have lawfully terminated your tenancy, your landlord will probably not be allowed to take from the deposit, payments for rent that have fallen due since termination.

If your landlord is contesting your claim to have terminated the tenancy lawfully, he will say that the lease is ongoing and he is entitled to take money from the deposit for unpaid rent in the usual way, as the lease is ongoing. Therefore, the crux of the issue will be whether or not you were entitled to terminate the lease.

If you have already commenced court proceedings, you may need to amend them to include a claim for the return of the deposit.

Best of luck.

John

By MANISH on October 17th, 2009

I HAVE NINE YEARS LEFT ON A COMMERCAIL LEASE WITH A LOCAL CONCIL, THEY WANT TO REDELEVOP THE SITE AND INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PROPERTIES ON THE SITE FORM 15 TO 62 REDUCING THE NO. OF COMMERCAIL TENNATS FORM 9 TO 3. I HAVE BEEN INFORMED BECAUSE THEY ARE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH A PARVITE DEVELOPER I MAY NOT GET A NEW UNIT OR IF I DO THE RENT WILL BE FAR GREATER THEN I PAY NOW. I PAY 8800 A YEAR RENT AND HAVE NINE YEARS LEFT, BUT THE BUSINESS IN VERY PROFITABLE AND ALSO WE HAVE INVESTED OVER 300K IN BUYING THE LEASE AND REFITTING THE SHOP? I WORRY THAT I AM GOING TO LOSE MY INCOME AND INVESTMENT. WHERE DO I STAND?
MANISH

By Mountlands on October 19th, 2009

Hi John

I run a language school and we are looking at taking on the lease of an office in town. The previous tenant signed a 21 year lease with the landlord – three years ago he sold his business to retire. Unfortunately these people went bankrupt and now he is left paying the rent on an empty property. We really want to move in to this property, but we do not want to inherit the remaining 16 years left on the lease, with no break out clauses, as this is too onerous in the current climate.

But the landlord is insisting on maintaining this 16 year lease, with us signing an AGA.

What are your thoughts on this one? Is there just nothing we can do about it, and the previous tenant will just have to keep on paying the rent on the empty shop until he can find someone who IS brave enough to sign up for 16 years? Or until he goes bankrupt himself?

Thanks,
Ella

By John Chesworth on October 21st, 2009

Hi Manish

If you have 9 years left on your lease the Council will only be able to get you out of the property before the end of those 9 years, against your wishes, if either:-

a) you breach your lease in some way and do not rectify the breach;
b)or of they use powers of compulsory purchase which can be used for larger scale public development projects, in which case they would have to compensate you for the disruption to your business.

If your lease has the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act) then at the end of the current term of your lease, you will be entitled to remain in occupation unless the landlord gives you the correct written notice in accordance with section 25 of the Act. After he has given this notice you can request a new tenancy from the landlord. The landlord can oppose the grant of a new tenancy on limited grounds, one of which is that he requires your property in order to carry out redevelopment.

If a landlord opposed a new tenancny on the grounds of redevelopment, he must show a fixed intention to redevelop the property at the date of the court hearing when the matter will be decided, which will be at least 9 years away.

If the landlord sucessfully opposes the grant of a new tenancy on the ground of redevelopment, he has to pay compensation which can be up to twice the rateable value of the property, dependant on how long the business has been run from the property. This will be the only compensation you will be entitled to if the landlord proceeds along this route.

I hope this helps.

Regards

John

By Richard Glemberg on October 21st, 2009

Dear Sir

In 2005 I purchased a property for £360,000 with on a long lease of over 100 years. The ground rent has been confirmed by the managing agent to be £0.00 per year. However the service charges amount to about £5000 per year – with which I have no problem. However about 18 months ago the managing agent (WDB) decided to dig up balancing service charges going back to 2003 and increase the existing service charges by 33%. These, I have so far refused to pay, insisting they are unreasonable (although I would not object to any reasonable increase). Although I have continued to pay my regular amounts, the so called arrears have no amounted to over £4000. The solicitors for the free holder have said that if I don’t pay they will send in the bailiffs – possibly even tomorrow. My question is – Are they allowed to forfeit the lease because of this dispute about service charges i.e. Can I loose the property and my investment because of this dispute about service charges? Am I therefore forced to pay?

Kind Regards

Richard Glemberg

By John Chesworth on October 21st, 2009

Hi Ella

You are quite right to be cautious taking a lease in the current climate. I suspect that many landlords of unleased properties would be prepared to grant a 5 year term, with a break after 3 years, and many landlords are offering rent free periods as an incentive to fill their properties.

From the perspective of the landlord in your situation, the property represents an investment for him, and as long as he is receiving his rent from somewhere, whether it be the tenant or a guatantor such as the previous tenant, I suspect he will sit tight holding onto the remaining 16 years of the current lease. If the guarantor is someone of financial substance, then the value of the landlord’s property is enhanced by the exitence of the current lease on the property, and he will be loathed to let it go.

The driver for the landlord to agree a new lease with you will be if there is a real possibility of the rental stream drying up from the current lease, which will mean the guarantor becoming insolvent. If that happened, you will be in the driving seat as landlords will bend over backwards to get tenants in their properties in the current climate.

If you take the 16 year lease and your business does not work out, you will find it very difficult to find someone to assign the lease to in the current climate, and you will be left with the millstone round your neck. If there are alternative properties available were you can agree a new lease then I suggest you look very closely at them.

If you want someone to act for you once you have agreed terms in respect of new accommodation, I would be more than happy to quote.

Regards

John

By ian on October 27th, 2009

i have a commercial lease which was taken out on 28th march 2008 for 3 years. shortyl after i moved in on of the rooms in the shop fell in leaving a big whole in the roof. i told the landlady and it took 12 months for her to fix it. in that time i stated that my lease said if there was any damage due to something that shud be insured by landlady then my rent or a porportion of it shud be suspended for 3 years or till the problem is fixed she didnt do this so i stopped paying the rent which resulted in her getting the roof fixed. she then put the property in the hands of agents who made a verbally aggreement for me to pay off the rent arrears along side my current rent, they also said they would get the remaining damages fixed as well new carpets etc. 5 months on still not fixed and still cannot use the room. so my verbal rental agreement has been slow in getting the rent to them, pay 1 week then pay 2 weeks later so due to my buisness suffering due to me not being able to offer the full services due to not being able to use this room.

the agents have been in touch and have said if i dont bring my rental upto date they are going to come and change the locks and kick me out. I am still paying them rent every week and when i miss a week i make it up the following week i.e 2 payments in 1 week. i thought that the landlady cannot just forfeit the lease due to rent arrears as she has excepted rent off me from when i 1st fell into arrears and as we dont have a written agreement on the new rental she is basicly going off the oringinal lease. I thought she has waived her right to forfeit? is this right? As it is very worrying, as if they were to complete the work to the damages i myself could conduct my buisness properly and therefore they would get there rent back quicker. just seems like there not listening and the agents dont reply to me when i contact them.

By fergus on November 11th, 2009

Hi John,
Wonder if you could help me ??
I hold a tenancy at will agreement on a pub currently being sold freehold as a going concern.
My current landload (one of the big pub co.)informs me that new landlord has to leave me in place for six months, is this true ?? I have no contact details for the new landlord nor do I know what his plans are for the pub ??
Thanks
Fergus

By Paola on November 16th, 2009

Hi John,

I know it is a quite common case: I have still one year lease to go and our sales dropt dramatically. I want to get out of this lease asap, money running out. I don’t know which the best way to approach the landlord because I know already that he will ask for the all year rent and he is not prepare to meet half way with any deal. Can you suggest any exit strategy?

Many thanks
Paola

By John Chesworth on November 16th, 2009

Hi Fergus

If you have a tenancy at will then both landlord and tenant can terminate the tenancy immediately. Therefore, the new landlord would not have to give you any notice if he wanted you out.

The reason that landlords are fond of using tenancies at will is because they are expressly excluded from the security given to business tenents under provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act). Under the Act, a landlord has to give a tenenat 6 months’ notice before terminating a tenancy even when the tenant’s contractual right to remain may have ended. However, this requirement does not extend to excluded tenancies such as tenancies at will.

I think your current landlord should be putting you in touch with the new one, so that you can start making some arrangements for the future.

Regards

John

By John Chesworth on November 16th, 2009

Hi Paola

There are only two ways of remaining solvent and getting out of a lease before the term has completed. One is to negotiate with the landlord for an early surrender, but like most landlords in the current climate, yours seems unwilling to accept anything less than the full rent for the whole year. One way of potentially applying pressure to your landlord is to tell him that if he insists on the full years rent you will become insolvent and he will get nothing. That sometimes works.

The other option would be to try and sell your business along with the lease for a nominal value. The purchaser would become primarliy liable for the rent, although you will probably have to guarantee the rent until the end of the term of your lease.

A final, but rather risky strategy, is to stop paying the rent. The landlord may chose to change the locks to the premises, at which point he will unwittingly terminate your obligations to pay any rent that falls due after the date he changed the locks. However, he could pursue you through the courts for the arrears up to the date he changed the locks.

I hope this helps,

John

By Terri Hills on November 21st, 2009

Can you advise me on our claim which will be in the High Court, for an amount in excess of £60,000. Whilst it relates to a commercial lease and we are suing for breach of conract – would the case be heard in the QBD Division which covers conractual dissputes – or in the Chancery Division? Many thanks.

By Michael Jones on December 1st, 2009

Hi,

I have a tenancy at will agreement for my small printing business premises. I am worried that this does not give me much security. If he wants to end the tenancy can the landlord simply change the locks or does he need a Court Order?

Grateful for any advice

Mike

By John Chesworth on December 3rd, 2009

Hi Terri

There are many divisions of the High Court. When a claimant commences their claim they can chose which division to issue the claim in. If the court thinks that it has been issued in the wrong division they will transfer it to the correct one.

However, the Queens Bench Division is the most commonly used and, if you like the default division of the High Court, hearing a real cross section of cases. It would not be unusual for a contractual claim relating to a lease to remain in the Queens Bench Division if it had been issued there and the defendant did not object.

That said, claims issued that relate to land, such as leases are most often dealt with in the Chancery Division and given that the judges who sit in the Cahncery Division have expertise in this area, I would recommend that the proceedings be brought in the Chancery Division for a clain similar to the one you describe.

I hope this helps.

John

By John Chesworth on December 3rd, 2009

Hi Michael

You are right to be concerned about the security of your rights of occupation, if in fact, you do occupy under a tenancy at will. A tenancy at will can be terminated with immediate effect, and if you did not vacate, a landlord of none residential premises would be within his rights to change the locks without the need for a court order.

If your agreement is not in writing, or has been running for a long period of time with regular periodic payments, you could have an argument that your tenancy is not actually a tenancy at will but a periodic tenancy. A periodic business tenancy wich falls within the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act) has statutory protection, and can only be terminated by giving 6 months’ notice. During the notice period the tenant has the right to apply to court for a new tenancy, and the landlord can only object on limited grounds set out in the Act.

If you would like me to have a look at your tenancy agreement please give me a call.

Regards

John

By bianca on December 20th, 2009

Dear john
I toke a 20 year lease,costing me £12,000,the whole pub had to be gutted out and re-wired with all new fixtures and fittings,costing me over £40,000.the owner of the building didnt tell me the club needed re-wireing, the heating wasnt working the cellar coolers was not working there was no fire alarm systerm at all,and no security systerm. all in all the owner lead me to belive every thing was working,i recived the keys 1st feb 2009,was open 6 working weeks(6th march 2009),it was a thriving pub,i had paid my land lord half the rent just oweing £2000 as was late 3 days, but agrred to get the week end trade to pay the remaining monies. i had just bought the celler collers the same week, as the owner of the building new.,on the saterday morning the 6th week of opening two bailifes came to my club and changed the locks,since i have not been able to go back to my club, all my possesions is in the club ie.carpets i bought, ceiler coolers,brand new bar with optics, dance floor mixing desk,over £4000 in snacks and beer, sprits (stock)ect, the list just gos on.I built the club up from nothing it was a shell. with in 2 month the pub has re-opend,my account whome i have since found out was working with he owner of the building for her to take over! nothing has been done by my solicter in 8 month i cant take her to court or the owner of the building,is it possible to get all my possetions out of the club? is there any light at the end of the tunnle? is any thing you can surgest that i should do?
im desperat to get something done.
thank you for takeing your time to read this.

Regards bianca & George Chisholm

By bianca on December 20th, 2009

hi john
its bianca & george Chisholm my e-mail add, is biancalong20@yahoo.co.uk
thank you

By Thomas on December 22nd, 2009

Hi John

We initially entered into a commercial tenancy agreement with our landlord for 3 yrs in March 07. We have just received our paperwork for the new tenancy but note that it states that our original tenancy will end in June. When I queried it with them, they stated its because they have to give 6 months notice & they must have forgotten to send the paperwork out to end the tenancy in march. We wish to continue with the tenancy but wonder are we able to contest the end date of the tenancy?

By John Chesworth on December 22nd, 2009

Hi Bianca

It sounds like you have had a terrible experience. Did you have a solicitor acting for you when you took the lease of the property? You ought to have had some information about the state and condition of the fixtures and fittings in the property.

Most leases have a provision that if rent is late the landlord can change the locks and forfeit the lease. The rent usually has to be at least 14 days late, but you will have to look at the terms of your lease. If your lease is lawfully forfeited for non-payment you could have got back in by paying any arrears and the costs of forfeiture. The landlord would have been forced to let you back in if you had made those payments within the first few weeks after the locks were changed.

I will drop you a quick e-mail to see whether there is anything we can do for you.

Regards

John

By bianca on December 24th, 2009

Dear john
Thank you for your reply,very much appretiated.
We got a solictor 2 days afetr the club closed as it was the weekend,It seems that from day one we had one desapointment after another,we have only had one letter in 8 month from are solictor.
we have been getting legal aid but was turned down to take them to court.we feel we have had very bad advice. we would dearley like to get are possetions back.we put all are life saveings in to the club.
as its been 8 months since the club closed is it to late to get are possetions back?
my account sold all my stock when she re-opened my club i payed £12000 for my 20 year lease(which i was only open 6 working weeks.
when i signed the contract i had a solictor there present supplied bye the owner of the building,i wasnt informed about any thing that was wrong with the club,i was just told its not his probblem (the owner of the building)after i had the keys to the club, when i found out wot was wroung with the club.
I offerd the owner the £3000 for the remaining rent monnies but he would not axcept it, i all so told the bailifs i had the moneys there if thay wanted to take it that morning as the friday night takenings was good, I had the money.
After the bailifs changed the locks, two hours later my accountant and her partner thats got the club now where opening the doors,i have since found out that i had been stiched up by her and the owner of the building.
could you give us advice on wot to do next?
Thank you again for your time in reading this,all ready you have sounded more help full than my own solictor, Makes me feel ill knowing i could of gone back in to my club as i had the money aranged for the monday but offerd it to him on the saterday. your advice makes far much more sence, is it to late?

your sicerely

Bianca & George Chisholm

By John Chesworth on December 24th, 2009

Hi Bianca and George

It may be too late to go back into the club as the timing of an application for what is known as relief from forfeiture is crucial. As you are now many months down the line and the property is being occupied by another tenant, it is unlikely you will be able to get back in.

It does sound like you have been baddly let down, however, a detailed examination of all the facts of the case would be required before a solicitor could advise whether someone is legally responsible for your loss. Given that the dispute will also involve professional advisers that you have previously used, it will probably become very costly, and unless you can get legal aid, or get a solicitor to run the case on a non win no fee basis, you will have to find thousands of pounds in legal fees to get something up and running.

I suggest you call around a few local solicitors in your area to see if anyone can assist you on a legally aided, or no win no fee basis.

Best of luck.

Regards

John

By julie on December 28th, 2009

Hiya,

RE: Private Residential Property

I wonder if you can help. My brother has lived in our family home for 45 years on and off. (My mother and father moved into the property in 1963 and the house did not have any mortgage.) However he has caused major issues in the home over the years due to his alcohol intake!!

The house was in my father’s name and approx 9 years ago he signed the house over to me in a solicitors practice. My father died approx 2 years later (8/3/03) therefore leaving the house to me. My mother and brother continued to reside in the house and I lived with my partner in his property.

In June of this year I moved back into the family home and took out a mortgage soley in my name on the house to do some renovations. My brother’s behavaiour has continued and I have decided that for my mother’s sake he needs to be removed!

My brother has paid the council of approx £130 per month for 10 months but paid nothing else (ie board and lodgings or any other household bills.

The question I want to ask is can I removed him without any question or does he have any rights with him paying the Council Tax?

Many thanks for taking the time to read this.

Regards

Julie

By Tracey Rainey on January 4th, 2010

Hi John

I am following on from my post of 18th Sep. Unfortunatley we did not manage to sell the business and had to close the shop early in Nov. We immediatley contacted the landlord who initially insisted that he would not surrender the lease. Out of the blue a few days later his accountant contacted us to say they would surrender the lease for £6000 payable in 2 payments (Nov and Dec). We asked for this in writing and did not receive it until mid Dec. in the meantime the landlord had asked for a copy of the keys which we provided.
Once we had the details in writing we tried to negotiate payment terms with him as we couldn’t afford what he was suggesting.
Eventually the only terms he would accept were £1000 a month over 6 months (which we are not sure we can meet and have said this to him). When we made the first payment he asked for keys and before we took these down to him we called in the property to make sure that there was no post.
Whilst in the property we noticed that builders had been in starting to knock through to the property next door. On discussion with the shop owners next door we found out that they were taking over the property.
When we took the first payment to the landlord and gave him the keys he provided us with a letter to say that he surrendered the lease with effect from that day (after he had let someone start work on the building) but that if future payments were not met he would take action to recover all future rent and insurance payments. Is he able to do this is he now has a new tenant? Should we have anything else to say we have surrendered the lease?

By Chris Pettit on January 7th, 2010

Hello John, here is a tricky one for you.
I have a 16 year commercial lease which began in 1992. The landlord started negotiating a rent review in 2004 but this was not agreed upon before the lease expired. We are now quite close to agreeing on a new lease but the landlords are saying that the new rent will be back dated to the review date of the expired lease ie 2004.
There is nothing in the old lease to cover this eventuality and I am pushing that they can not ask for back rent on a lease that no longer exists.
Have you heard of anything like this before.

Chris

By bianca on January 11th, 2010

hi john
Thank you for your last reply,I understand that as time has gone bye i have lost the chance in getting my club back due to my solictor dragging things along,
But where do i stand when comes to my belongings?
Can i get these back ie: carpits,optics,wall lights,cellar collers ect?

Thankyou for you time

Geordie & Bianca Chisholm

By John Chesworth on January 13th, 2010

Hi Tracey

The landlord in your case has clearly retaken possession of the property by accepting the keys and allowing works at the premises. It is likely that a court will find that he has accepted a surrender of the lease by his actions. Once the lease has been surrendered, it has terminated along with your liability to pay the sums that fall due after the date of surrender. Therefore, I do not think the landlord has a strong argument to claim future rent and other sums due under the lease.

There is clearly an agreement on your part to pay £6,000 in consieration for the surrender. If you fail to comply with the repayment terms, your landlord could sue you for the balance of the £6,000 that is due.

In order to get finaility and avoid potential litigation, I would urge you to comply with the repayment terms if possible.

Best of luck

John

By John Chesworth on January 13th, 2010

Hi Chris

You’re right this is a tricky one.

I will have to sound like a conventional lawyer here, but as the effect of rent review povisions is entirely dependent on how the lease is drafted, I cannot advise you on the workings of your rent review clause without first looking at the lease. However, I can give some general guidance which may be is use.

The first point to make is that while the term of your 16 year lease has expired, if you are still in the premises, and the lease was not contracted out of the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, you are still occupying under the terms of your old lease, including the provisions relating to rent review.

In most commercial leases, the time for carrying out a rent review is not “of the essence”. This means that even after the time for the rent review has passed, the landlord can still invoke the rent review procedure. However, if the review date was 2004 it is usual that the valuation is that of the going rent for your property in 2004, although given the market conditions over the past few years that may not differ too much from the current rental value.

There are sometimes provisions in commercial leases that allow the landlord to charge interest from the contractual review date on any uplift in rent following a review which is finalised after the contractual date, even if it is the landlord’s fault for not proceeding with the review and completing it on time!

If you would like us to advise on the specifics of your case, please give me a call.

Regards

John

By Su on January 19th, 2010

Dear John,
I have a cafe business with two outlets in the same town. Both leases are for 10 years with 7 yrs remaining. Both are between my limited company and the respective Landlord. There are no break clauses. I hold a personal guarantee on one of them (lease 1), but not on the other (lease 2). The terms of the guarantee are now satisfied as the guarantee is removable once a certain level of turnover has been reached, and that has now been exceeded, i.e. I can apply to the landlord to have the guarantee removed this year. My problem is that one of the outlets (lease 2) is underperforming and threatens to destroy the business as it is making a massive loss. I have to find a way to get out of this lease. In this climate there are a lot of empty properties around, so I know assigning the lease is one option but I’m not sure if anyone would take it. The other outlet (lease 1) is fine. I have not yet approahed either landlord to discuss rent reductions etc, but this week was forced to close outlet 2 (lease 2) as I make less of a loss by closing it. I am not in arrears on either lease.
Do you have any advice as to what I should do? The business is viable and could be a success as long as I can get rid of the bad lease (lease 2).
Many thanks in advance.

By Alan Smith on January 27th, 2010

I have a shop lease 5y to go. The tenant (virtually insolvent and owing rent and other breaches of lease) put the business up for sale by way of assignment, a proposed assignee was allowed in to the shop whilst referances, schedule of delapaditions and legal matters were being dealt with, the tenant walked out a year ago leaving the proposed asignee in place, BUT before the lease assignment was completed the original tenant died suddenly, what do I do. I propose to offer a new lease which expires at the date of the old lease. Your thoughts please

By John Chesworth on February 1st, 2010

Hi Su

The problem you face is a common one for businesses with more than one outlet. As you have no break clause, the only option you have is to approach your landlord and ask him whether he will accept a surrender of the lease. He will want some payment, but it may be less than paying for the lease until the end of the term.

If the second premises will make the whole business insolvent, then drastic times require drastic measures, and you could consult with an insolvency practitioner to see whether you could put the company into administration and buy the viable assets of the business through a new company, including taking an assignment of lease 1, and then liquidating the original company including the liability under lease 2.

This procedure is known as a Pre-Pack Administration. It is costly, due to the professional fees involved, and also the landlord may object to an assignment of lease 1. However, this could be a possible way out if the second lease will drag the business into failure.

Best of luck

John

By John Chesworth on February 1st, 2010

Hi Alan

You are quite right to seek to regulate matters as soons as possible. My concern is that if a new lease is granted, the old lease may not have been terminated properly.

The old lease is now vested in the estate of the deceased tenant. A quick method of proceeding would be to get the personal representatives of the deceased tenant to assign the old lease or agree to surrender that lease and then grant the new lease as you have suggested.

I suggest you approach the solicitors who dealt with the estate of the deceased tenant, to see which way they want to deal with the matter.

Regards

John

By john black on February 22nd, 2010

If a tenant vacates a property without notice, hands keys to the landlord, and is in rent arrears, what can the landlord do? Also, lease has several years to run.. how does this effect the situation? The landlord did not accept the keys but the tenant posted them through the letter box.

Any advice appreciated
(the above is a brief description to keep the account as anonymous as possible)

By John Chesworth on March 2nd, 2010

Hi John

The tenant’s action in the circumstances you have outlined would probably constitute an implied offer to surrender his lease. The landlord would be deemed to have accepted this offer to surrender if he carried out some unequivocal act which accepted that the lease has ended. Non-exhaustive examples of such acts may be re-letting the premises or expressly stating to the tenant that the landlord accepted the surrender of the lease. In this case the lease would end and any future obligation to pay rent would cease. However, the tenant would still be liable for any existing arrears of rent or other breaches of the lease including repairing obligations.

In the present case where keys have been posted through the landlord’s letter box as opposed to be accepted by the landlord, this is unlikely to be an acceptance of the offer of surrender, as the landlord has not actually done anything to communicate acceptance to the tenant.

If a surrender has not taken place and the landlord does nothing in respect of the premises, such as re-letting or re-occupying, the lease will continue and the tenant will remain liable for the rent and other obligations under the lease until the lease term expires.

It may be best to contact the tenant to remind him of his obligations and see whether he is prepared to pay a lump sum to by a release from the lease.

Regards

John

By Mike Winchester on March 9th, 2010

I run a business from a premises which had a 51 year lease from 1984 so it has run 26 years and has another 25 to run.I do not owe rent and have been a good tenant and am not in financial problems.
Lease does not have break clauses and wish to include some to facilitate selling have been talking to landlord with whom have a good relationship about including some and shortening the lease,landlord willing to accomodate but his solicitor advising him against.
My gut feeling is he would accomodate this or give a new lease as opposed to an assignment for payment of a sum my current rent is £7000 per year what would you suggest would be a reasonable sum to offer and would the sum for surrender be similar if we were forced to go down that line
I look forward to hearing from you

By John Chesworth on March 22nd, 2010

Hi Mike

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you on this one.

Once a lease is signed the tenant is bound to pay rent and to comply with its other obligations until the term expires. A surrender will have to be negotiated, and it is really a question of what your landlord will accept, and I suspect this will very much depend upon the market conditions for commercial property in your part of the world.

I suggest that you get some guidance from a local commercial property valuer to assist you with this one.

Regards

John

By Louise on June 14th, 2010

I have received a section 25 notice opposing the renewal on my shop premises. I did fall behind in the rent but have managed to pay it steadily over the last six months but not yet paid the arrears. My landlord has used this as the reason for opposing the renewal however I want to remain in the premises as business has improved but can not yet pay back all the arreared rent. I am going to send a response to the landlord, do you have any advice on what I should include in the letter?

Gratefull for any advice

By John Chesworth on June 17th, 2010

The first thing to do is ensure that you make made an application to court asking for a new tenancy before the date stated on the section 25 notice has passed. If you do not you will lose your right to apply for a new tenancy.

If you want your application for a new tenancy to succeed you really need to get all the arrears cleared. I suspect this will also be the starting point for the landlord in any negotiation for a new lease outside of the court application procedure.

I appreciate the businesses have a number of competing demands on their finances, but unless the payment of the arrears rises to the top of the priority list, you are in danger of being eveicted from the premises.

By Karen on July 9th, 2010

I own a building which i lease out to a Ltd company, i have found out his company is due to be dissolved at the end of this month, his lease expires on 30 July and he has not requested to extend it problem being he hasn’t been to the premises for weeks – all the stock etc that is in the shop if it’s still there when the lease expires am I allowed to just put it to the dump or do i have to return it to him? There’s no administrators etc been assigned to this company as yet but i have had his customers asking if they can take the stock they are owed if he doesn’t turn up the day his lease expires and I’m unsure if this would make me liable for theft charges??

By John Chesworth on July 13th, 2010

Hi Karen

You need to be careful about dealing with the tenant’s possessions at the end of the lease. Some leases have a provision that if the tenant leaves stock on the premises for more than a specified number of days the landlord can dispose of those possessions. However, unless your lease has such a provision you cannot dispose of the stock lawfully. If you did dispose of it you could be liable to the tenant both under the civil code and potentially the criminal code so you must be careful.

If you have an address for the tenant (you can get the registered office address from Companies House)you could arrange for the stock to be delivered to that address once the lease expires. Alternatively, in order to re-let the property, you could remove the stock and put it in storage taking care that the stock is not damaged, as damage to the stock could result in liability.

A tricky area this one, and a reason why a good modern lease will have a specific provision allowing a landlord to deal with the tenant’s possessions at the end of the term.

Regards

John

By annette price on July 14th, 2010

hi john, our pub co have sold the freehold of our pub to a local consortium, along with a dept of £7000, that they said we owe, we have been in dispute with the pub co over this,but now the new owners have said they want the money and rent upfront,we have always paid the rent weekly,they bought the pub 5days ago,then 24hrs after they demanded the money, they sent a bailiff in,he has done a walking possetion, and given me 5days to pay,or they are stripping the pub of all trade f&f,kitchen etc,so we cant trade!our tennancy is up in sept,and we dont have any money as weve never had a wage from here, please help! annette.

By John Chesworth on July 15th, 2010

Hi Annette

I’m sorry to hear of your predicament. From my experience, leases from pub companies are always heavily skewed in favour of the landlord, more so than most commercial leases. With regard to the payment of rent, the first place to look is your lease. Most leases state that rent is paid in advance, sometimes quarterly and occasionally monthly in advance. It is unusual for a lease to state the rent is to be paid weekly in advance. You will need to look at your lease to find out when rent is due to be paid.

If rent is due, the landlord is entitled to instruct bailiffs to seize your goods and ultimately sell them if the rent is not paid up to date. I suspect this is what the landlord has done in your case. The best course of action is to try and come to some arrangement with your new landlord for the repayment of any rent arrears as soon as possible.

Sorry I can’t offer any quick fix solution, but when a tenant is in arrears of rent in respect of a commercial lease the odds are firmly stacked in the landlord’s favour.

Regards

John

By Dave on August 2nd, 2010

Hello John,

I have a tenant of a commercial lease property who is refusing to pay monthly rent because of scaffolding that I have erected in order to perform essential remedial work on the buildings roof. The scaffolding stretches across the entrance to the shop but does not obscure signage or windows.

What can be done in this situation?

Many thanks

By John Chesworth on August 10th, 2010

Hi Dave

The first thing to do is look at your lease. Most professionally drafted commercial leases will state that the tenant is to pay rent without set off or deduction. This means that the tenant cannot withhold payment of rent even if they have a valid grievance.

However, such a clause does not prevent a tenant claiming back compensation once they have paid the rent, if there has been a breach of the lease by the landlord. In order to examine whether this is the case, the starting point is again the lease. It is common for commercial leases to expressly reserve the right for the landlord to erect scaffold without this constituting a breach of the lease. Even if the lease does not expressly mention scaffold, if you as landlord have an obligation in the lease to maintain the building, it will probably be implied that you can erect scaffold to carry out works without this being a breach of the tenant’s lease. You need to check these lease provisions or instruct a solicitor to do this for you.

In the meantime check the provisions for payment of rent, if it contains the magic wording excluding set off or deduction, than you can force the tenant to pay by exercising your remedies under the lease for non-payment, thereby getting a win in the short term.

Regards

John

By Mark Jeffreys on August 12th, 2010

Hello John,
We have occupied a commercial property for the past 6 years. There is 4 years left of the 10 year lease that we signed, and

both myself and my wife signed as guarantors for the lease. We operate as a limited company.

We couldnt afford to pay the rent any more due to a lack of business, and subsequently phoned the managing agents after we

unsuccesfully tried to reassign the remaining 4 years through a local commercial estate agent.

When we spoke to the managing agents of the property, they asked if we could afford to pay half of the quarter due, which we

could and have. Since then, the next quarter is due to be paid at the end of September 2010, and we simply dont have enough

money to pay it. I have since spoken with the landlords solicitor and he told me to stop marketing the property myself, and

they would market the property themselves because, in his words “noone would be interested in the remaining 4 years of a 10

year lease”.

The landlords have now instructed a different commercial property agent to market the property and they have erected a to let

board outside the property. The managing agents asked us to send the keys to the new commercial property agents so that they

could allow people in to view it. We have a 2nd shop which is financially viable, but we are worried that the landlord may

pursue us for unpaid rent after september 2010, and ultimately we will lose our house and the remaining business. If he took

us to court for the unpaid rent could we possibly lose our house and the stock from the remaining business?

We have tried very hard to market this property to other businesses including cash converters franchisees and booze busters

franchsees to name but a few. We have closed the business down that operated from this location because we were losing less

by doing this than if we were to keep it open. The rent payable per anum is £35,000 + vat. By closing it, because the

building was listed, we saved £16,500 in business rates, and we have no staff costs, but still cannot afford to pay the rent

due.

If a court heard that the 1st business was viable, would it be more than likely that they would make an installment order to

repay the debt owed on a monthly basis, or do you think that they would force us to sell our home and cars?

By John Chesworth on September 6th, 2010

Mark

I am sorry to hear of the problems you are experiencing. Have you asked the landlord whether they would accept a surrender of the lease? You will have to pay the landlord a sum of money for this, but it will at least draw a line under your personal liability. The amount you would have to pay is a matter for negotiation. The landlord is under no obligation to accept a surrender.

If the landlord will not agree to a surrender of the lease you are liable for the rent and all the other tenant covenants until the term expires, or a replacement tenant is found. Given the state of the business, I think you should look at consulting an Insolvency Practioner to see whether the business can be saved. At present all it is doing is draining your personal resources. It may also be worthwhile asking them to look at your personal position, to see whether an Individual Voluntary Arrangement could be agreed. It is better to adress the situatuion now as opposed to waiting until creditors pursue you for your house and cars.

Regards

John

By Sharyn on September 11th, 2010

Hello,

We signed a three year lease for $4,000 a month in the state of California. We are a year into our lease and have fallen into financial difficulties. We currently owe around $18,000 and have been negotiating to lower our rent. I have been telling the landlord we can only afford $2,000 per month. Of course, he makes us offers that are not close to the $2,000. We even asked to pay $2,000 per month for 3 months and then check our finances and go from there.
Although we keep telling him we can only afford $2,000 per month he is willing to go to $3,000.

We have begin to offer other services that will bring in great money, however; it will take around 3-4 months for it to kick in. We have told him of our other services so he knows the money will be coming in.

The landlord states if we do not accept his terms then he will serve us to pay the back money immediately. Of course, we do not have it.

If I send him $2,000 per month can he still kick us out? Also, we are an LLC-can he go after the partners and take our homes and such?

By John Chesworth on September 13th, 2010

Hi Sharyn

Unfortunately, I am only qualified to advise on the law in England and Wales, and have no knowledge of the law in California, although I would definitely swap the weather, it is pouring with rain here in England (nothing new there).

I suggest you give a local lawyer a call, sorry I can’t help here.

Regards

John

By Shaz on September 17th, 2010

Hello John

We took out a commercial lease for one year after which the lease continued for a number of months.

As a result of the financial downturn I was no longer able to continue paying the rent. I managed to negotiate a reduction in rent but despite this I was still not able to continue paying rent.

I did not pay rent for approximately three months afterwhich I agreed to vacate the premises and return the keys for the property to the landlord.

The landlord is now pursuing me for unpaid rent for the three month period.

During the period I was occupying the premises, as well as the rent I was also paying an insurance premium for an insurance policy which the landlord had taken out allowing him to claim for non payment of rent. Because I was paying the insurance premium for this policy, is the landlord still able to pursue me for the unpaid rent?

By John Chesworth on September 23rd, 2010

Hi Shaz

The insurance payout a landlord receives for unpaid rent is usually triggered by the damage or destruction of the building which prevents the tenant from occupying the building. Most leases state that if the property is not capabale of occupation by the tenant, the tenant does not have to pay rent. In order that the landlord does not lose out he insures for the loss of rent in this eventuality.

There is no insurance I am aware of which covers loss of rent purely by the tenant’s inability to pay as there would be too many instances were the policy would be triggered.

It looks as though you will have to try and find the rent. Sorry I can’t find a sollution for you.

Regards

John

By maria on September 25th, 2010

Hi

CAN THE LANDLORD CHANGE THE LOCKS TO MY CAFE DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE AMOUNT OF RENT ARREARS CLAIMED WERE IN DISPUTE…ALSO I WAS ALLOWED TO TAKE ALL MY POSSESSIONS HOWEVER MANY ITEMS TOTALLING OVER £3,000 WERE MISSING/RETAINED/STOLEN…
WHAT CAN I DO?
THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR ADVICE

By John Chesworth on September 27th, 2010

Hi Maria

The forfeiture clause in a lease usually states that if any rent is in arrears the landlord can re-enter the premises and take possession. Therefore, if any rent was the requisite number of days late (you will need to check the lease in this respect) he can lawfully change the locks. You will need to read the forfeiture clause carefully or take it to a solicitor for some specific advice.

In relation to your possessions, unless the lease says otherwise, the landlord cannot take your possessions after the lease has ended and has an obligation to look after them, and make them available for you to collect. Some leases state that if the lease ends with money owing to the landlord, he can sell them and take what is owed from the proceeds. Again, I advise you read the lease carefully, if there is nothing in there allowing the landlord to deal with your belongings then you may have the option of pursuing a claim through the small claims section of the county court.

Regards

John

By Derek on September 29th, 2010

Hi

In 2000 I rented a commercial property on a one year lease, this was not renewed in 2001. In 2002 I signed another 12 month which expired in 2003. Since then the landlord has not offered me a new lease and I have not asked for one.

For almost 7 years I have continued to pay the rent (which has remained unchamged since I first occupied the premises) and am wondering what if any rights I may have accrued for example the secure tenancy, right of tenure etc.

I would also be grateful for any information on any rights I may have should I wish to buy the property.

By John Chesworth on September 29th, 2010

Hi Derek

I will answer your queries in reverse order. Renting commercial property does not give rise to any form of statutory or implied right to purchase the property you occupy. This differs from certain forms of residential occupancy.

In relation to your occupation of the property, the first question to ask is whether your 2002/2003 lease was contracted out of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act)? If it was not then it is highly probable that you now have a tenancy that is protected by the provisions of that Act.

The protection given provides that your tenancy cannot be terminated by anything less than 6 months written notice given in a prescribed form. Once this notice is given, you have the right to request a new tenancy and the landlord can only lawfully object on certain limited grounds which include either default during your occupation (arrears of rent etc) or that the landlord wishes to redevelop or occupy himself. The rules concerning renewal are fairly complex. My advice to you is to sit tight at your existing rent as long as you can, the landlord cannot unilaterally raise the rent without following the termination procedure. If he does start with this procedure or seeks to alter your terms of occupation, then take some specialist advice.

We will be more than happy to assist should the need arise.

Regards

John

By Derek on September 30th, 2010

Hi John

Many thanks for your valuable advice.

Regards
Derek

By David Adams on October 20th, 2010

Hi there. If a Landlord has an obligation to provide heating, lifts and boilers to a multi let building but the tenants lease only provides for a contribution to running costs and not renewal of said items can the Landlord recover renewal costs?

Regards.

David

By John Chesworth on October 22nd, 2010

Hi David

The extent of the tenant’s obligation to contribute to the cost of communal expenses will depend upon the wording of each individual lease. Therefore, before anyone can provide you with advice on your particular situation, a full consideration of your lease will be necessary.

Having said that, there are some general principles that have arisen from the case law concerning repairs in a landlord and tenant relationship. One of those is that where it is more cost effective to replace an item that has fallen into disrepair instead of carring out the repair, the person obliged to carry out the repair can instead renew that item. Therefore, if your landlord is obliged to repair common items this could extend to replaing such itmes if they are beyond economic repair.

If you are facing a potential liability of thousands of pounds I would definitely recomend that you get professional advice to look at the lease and the service charge claim being made by the landlord, as in some circumstances a tenant can be liable for the renewal of common items, but each case will turn on its own facts.

Regards

John

By David Adams on October 25th, 2010

John, Thanks for your views.Greatly appreciated.

By judy on November 18th, 2010

Hi our lanlord changed the locks on our restaurant 21 days after the rent was due.I got in touch saying that i was going to pick up my stuff 2weeks later.she is now saying I cant.Apart from over £30’000.worth of equipment I also have lots of personal items and stock/diystff/ utensils etc.she also got a letting agent 2 wks ago and they are showing people round and also harrassing upstairs tenants to leave.Help??

By John Chesworth on November 25th, 2010

Hi Judy

Unless the lease says otherwise a Landlord has no right to deprive a tenant of their goods after the lease has terminated even if it is ended by forfeiture for non-payment of rent.

Read your lease carefully, if it does not give the landlord the right to retain your possessions after the lease has terminated then the landlord is acting unlawfully and you have the right to apply to court for an order to recover your goods.

Best of luck

John

By judy on November 28th, 2010

thanks for replying.its not in the lease but my solicitor is saying its common law..if i leave the equipment in order for the lanlord to relet easier, will i still owe her money or will this be taken into account?

By John Chesworth on November 30th, 2010

Hi Judy,

The common law allows a landlord to retain the fixtures and fittings a tenant has left, but not what are known in law as chattels, those being items that are not fixed to the premises.

Therefore, things like tables, chairs, kitchen utensils etc cannot be retained by the landlord pursuant to the common law. If he refuses to let you have them, and has no right under the lease to retain them, he is acting unlawfully.

Your solicitor maybe correct that it will make reletting the premises easier, however, as the landlord has terminated the tenancy, they cannot charge you for future rent only for arrears of rent.

If the landlord wants to keep your belongings to help him relet the premises, then you need to reach some form of agreement to offset your arrears of rent against the value of the belongings. As you have a solicitor instructed they will be able to assist you in this process. All I can do in this response is to give some general points of principle, which I trust are of assistance.

Regards

John

By judy on December 6th, 2010

Thanks john youve ben very helpful I will put these points to our solicitor.judy

By judy on December 16th, 2010

john about future rent,Im being told that the landlord can pursue me for future rents if they cant re let…is this right?

By John Chesworth on January 4th, 2011

Hi Judy

Rent only becomes payable when there is an existing tenancy, therefore, once a landlord terminates a tenancy, they cannot charge you for future rent.

There was until recently a school of thought that argued compensation for loss of future rent should be payable after forfeiture on the basis that the tenant had breached their contractual obligatin to pay rent, and that if the landlord suffered a loss of future rent because he could not re-let at the same rent, or re-let at all the former tenant should compensate the landlord.

However, in the 2006 case of Reichman v Beveridge the Court of Appeal gave guidance that such compensation was not recoverable under English Law.

In summary, after termination the tenant is not liable to pay anything further for rent that falls due after the date of forfeiture.

I hope you get matters resolved.

John

By tracy on January 20th, 2011

Hi John
We previously took out a commercial lease and my husband as named as a guarantor, however when this came up for renewal i asked the landlord and have an email confirming that they agreed to the removal of the guarantor’s status. We subsequently received a new tenancy agreement with did not detail the guarantor part – i did ask a solicitor to check over this agreement first before signing it & he rang and advised that i would not be liable if the company went bankrupt etc. This lease has now been running for nearly 1 year but our company is struggling and I am slightly worried that the landlord could still come after us as the former tenant with a guarantor status if we had to make the company insolvent. Any help would be appreciated.

By John Chesworth on January 21st, 2011

Hi Tracy

The personal guarantee your husband gave for the old lease will almost certainly only guarantee the obligations under that lease. It would be highly unusual for that guarantee to incorporate an indemnity for obligations contained in a lease that was not in existence when the guarantee was given.

Therefore, you need to check whether or not your husband gave a guarantee for the tenant’s obligations under the new lease. It is normal for such a guarantee to be given in the lease itself, but I suggest you thoroughly check all the documentation you have relating to the renewal lease. If a guarantee was not given for the new lease, then the landlord cannot pursue your husband personally for default on that lease.

One note of caution, if there were any outstanding breaches of obligation in relation to the old lease, the landlord may still be able to pursue your husband for such breaches. One area that the landlord could potentially bring a claim under the old lease may be for breach of repairing covenant in what is known as a dilapidations claim. That will very much depend upon the current state of the property and the terms of the old lease.

I hope this is of assistance.

John

By tracy on January 22nd, 2011

Thanks very much for that John. There was & still is a dilapidations clause on both the old and new lease. Do landlords often claim prior lease guarantees for this?

Tracy

By John Chesworth on January 24th, 2011

Tracy

In practice, landlords don’t often claim against guarantors of previous leases for dilapidations. However, this does not mean that they can’t. If there was a clause in the lease which states that the property should have been returned or ‘yielded up’ to the landlord in repair at the end of the old lease and it was not, then potentially a guarantor of that old lease could be liable.

You will have to hope that the landlord does not appreciate he has this right and that he doesn’t go to a knowledgable property lawyer!

Regards

John

By Craig Coggins on February 5th, 2011

Hi John,

In June 2008 I agreed a new 6 year lease. After 13 months of trading I sold my business. As expected I signed an AGA.

The new tennant approached the landlord 6 months after buying my business asking his permission to change the business from a Sandwhich shop to a Milkshake bar which he agreed too.

I was not consulted by the landlord which suprised me given my liability under the AGA, I now learn that the new tennant has arrears and I am being pursued under the AGA.

Can I get out of my liability in the circumstances.

By John Chesworth on February 9th, 2011

Hi Craig

The landlord did not have a legal obligation to consult you when he considered the new tenant’s application to change the use of the premises. Under a standard AGA, it would not really matter how the arrears of rent had arisen with the new tenant in occupation, the fact that those arrears exist give the landlord the right to pursue the former tenant for them.

Unfortunately, it is likely there is little you can do to get out of your liability.

Under the business sale agreement and assignment of the lease you should have obtained a covenant from the new tenant to abide by the terms of the lease. If they gave you a personal guarantee you could perhaps pursue them under that guarantee for any liability you have to to the landlord.

Best of luck

John

By steve on February 18th, 2011

hi i have a tenant who took out a 6 year lease from me the landlord he paid a £3000.00 deposit he paid november and decembers rent which is due on the 25th of each month but he hasent paid january 25th so is nearly a month late he hasent been open for over a week so if i forfeiture the shop what happens to the deposit and his stuff thats in the shop how time do i have to give him to collect it also he as made changes in there like built an office and put lino down on the woodern flooring etc and its going to cost money to put it right i would be greatful for any help in this case many thanks

By John Chesworth on February 21st, 2011

Hi Steve

Your post raisies a number of issues, the first place to look will be the clauses within your lease. Without having seen those clauses it is impossible to advise on your specific queries, but I can give you some general advice based upon what is commonly found in a properly drated commercial lease.

When a lease is forfeited, the liability to pay future rent ends at that point. The tenant will remain liable for any rent that has fallen due and also and breaches of obligation that exist at the date of forfeiture. Most commercial leases have a restriction preventing alterations to the property without the landlord’s consent. If your tenant has breached this provision, then he will be liable to you for damages in this resepct.

Turning to the tenant’s belongings left in the premises, unless the lease says otherwise, you cannot dispose of the belongings without the tenant’s authority. There is some statutory assistance for landlords, but this requires giving a notice to the tenant to collect the goods and waiting 3 months before action can be taken. Before you go down this route you should take some specific advice.

In relation to the deposit, you will need to look at the specific terms of the lease or the rent deposit deed. Those terms should allow you to take money from the deposit for arrears of rent, and it is common for the landlord to be allowed to take money from the deposit for other tenant breaches such as unlawful alterations.

If you want some specific advice, please give me a call.

Regards

John

By Michael on March 24th, 2011

Hi,

I am working for a company in leased premises. We have just entered into a new three year lease however things are looking pretty bad and the company looks as if it could well go under. We did have a guarantor which was our parent company but that has now ceased trading.

Would we be liable for any penalties should the worst case scenario happen and we had to close the business down?

By John Chesworth on April 11th, 2011

Hi Michael

The primary liability under the lease rests with the tenant company, if the parent company has guaranteed the tenant’s liability that company will also be on the hook. Therefore contractually these are the only two netities that could be liable under the terms of the lease. If there are no assets left in either company than the landlord will not be able to claim against any other party if the tenant ceases to perform its obligations under the lease including the payment of rent.

Regards

John

By Lily on August 23rd, 2011

We signed a three year business lease on 1st September 2007, in our final year trading it was becoming obvious that the business was not financially viable and I was grateful we were near the end of our lease. Unfortunately our Landlord produced a new three year lease at the beginning of June 2010, of which my husband and I fell out about, as I couldn’t understand why he had given us a new lease to sign when the original one was still in place.
I say unfortunately as my husband felt pressured into signing it without my knowledge or agreement. Needless to say without it being official, our business is insolvent and we can not keep up with the rent. Our Landlord is pursuing us for his rent, sending to date two letters regarding rent arrears. We felt the need to vacate the premises, having discussed this with him beforehand and he appeared understanding. A change of heart has seen him turn against us. Is there anything we can do??

By John Chesworth on August 29th, 2011

Hi Lily

Your e-mail raises a number of issues. First of all do you occupy the premises through a limited company or do you occupy as a trading partnership with your husband? The reason I say this is that normally for you to be personally bound by a lease you will have to have signed it oyurself.

The second issue relates to a potential suurender if the landlord has accepted the keys being returned to him. Has your landlord taken back possession of the property? If so then you may have a case to say that he has accepted an offer to surrender the lease. If a surrender has happened then your business will not be responsible for future rent.

Finally, if your business is insolvent, then I suggest you seek advice from an insolvency practioner. A business in liquidation has the ability to disclaim a lease, thereby terminating it. However, if your husband has given a personal guarantee for the lease he may well remian liable.

I suggest you get some professional advice quickly before your landord takes legal action to recover the rent. If you would like to discuss matters with me please send me an e-mail with a copy of the lease attached to john.chesworth@harrison-drury.com

Regards

John

By Emma on September 6th, 2011

Hi there,

I own a business running a 6 year commercial lease. I am 6 months into this new lease, my previous one having just expired. I have just found out that my landlord is looking to sell the freehold. He has offered it to me but due to the difficulty of gaining commercial mortgages and the general age and condition of the building, I have declined. Can you tell me if there is possibility that a new freeholder can have me removed from the premises and on what grounds or does the lease agreement just transfer to the new owner? My main concern is that we have some roof and leak damage to the property at present which has not been repaired due to the cost involved ( I am on a self repairing lease). Should I start looking for new premises?Are there any possible outcomes that I should consider to protect my business?

Many thanks for your help

Emma

By John Chesworth on September 6th, 2011

Hi Emma

A new owner of the freehold will take the property subject to your lease, that means that your rights of occupation are guaranteed under the terms of the lease. However, you must remember that under most commercial leases a landlord can terminate the lease if there are any breaches of the tenant’s obligations. In order to ensure that any future purchaser is aware of your lease, you should register a notice against your landlord’s title at the Land Registry using form UN1.

The only exceptions to the above will be if there is a landlord’s option to break the lease, or if:
a) the freehold was mortgaged before your lease was granted, and
b) the sale of the freehold is by the lender under their power of sale created by the mortgage, and
c) the lender had not previously consented to your lease.

Hopefully your occupation of the property will be secure and you do not have to look for new premises. In terms of the repairs, if you have a full repairing liability, your new landlord may well decide to enforce these obligations and ask you to put the property in repair.

I hope the above helps.

Regards

John

By Michelle on September 13th, 2011

Hello,

We had a full repairing insuring lease for internal only which we originally signed for 25 years ago. The lease expired in July. During those 25 years the building would move causing holes along side the building. The pipes also burst on several occasions causing flooding inside the property. This caused alot of damage to carpets, walls and the kitchen units and toilet tiles.

We purchased 2 new boilers over the time of the lease but never repaired the other damage caused by the flood.

Halfway through the lease the landlords changed and another company took over the lease.

They are now claiming £15,000 for repairs which we don’t have as the business closed after 25 years and I’m on job seekers allowance.

We didn’t do any major repairs as my son was extremely ill in hospital and our mind was elsewhere.

We are now left with a huge bill that cannot be paid. What can we do?

By Lorraine on September 14th, 2011

Hi
This is a very long and complicated one. My partner and I took over a tearoom business back in July we do not have a lease with the landlady as the people we took the business off of were renegotiating it as they had gone into the property with another business who had taken the lease out in there name however they packed up and disappeared over night and left the other people behind, This was back in march. The other people were then still trading out of the property till we took over in July to make this even more complicated it was a family member we took over from. However they never paid any rent because they had paid 6 months up front to the people they went in with but it may seem they never paid it to the landlady.
Back 4 weeks ago the landlady went in and locked us out of the premises and said that she would only let us back in once she had a signed lease in her hands, We have now had to start the whole lease process from the start our family members that we took the business over from had lead us to believe that it was all very straight forward which has been far from the case, we are waiting to get some finance backing from our bank (which has been a nightmare) Without this we do not want to commitment to a long lease. I have spoken personally with the landlady and explained the situation and have been very honest with her however we are still being tarred with the same brush as everyone else, she has since put the property on the market (for which I can not blame her). However I’ve told her that if she takes someone else’s offer that we would need to arrange collection of all our property which includes a kitchen, furniture, electrical goods etc. But she has told me that she will not be letting us take anything because she is owed a lot of rent, which isn’t anything to do with us as we took over in July. Where do we stand on this matter because I’m at wits end and now wondering do I want to start a relationship on such tense circumstances.
Many Thanks
Lorraine

By Frances on September 16th, 2011

What is the difference between exclusive and non-exclusive jurisdiction when it refers to a commercial lease being governed by English law and the parties submit to the exclusive/non exclusive jurisdiction of the courts for England and Wales. Prospective Tenant currently lives in England but says he may assign/sublet and move to Spain. If he or his assignee defaulted which type of jurisdiction would enable me to take him to court in England and have case governed by English law even if he moved to another country? Lease is a 5 year FRI @ £7000 a year.

Regards

Frances

By Mak Finn on September 19th, 2011

Hi can you help me – I am curently working from a couple of industial units – been here over 15 years. Never had an actuall lease.The estate is now in the hands of the receivers.How will this effect me and my employees. Can the new landlord force me out. I have over £400,0000.00 invested in internal alterations etc to the units. Other units on same estate some have leases others not.

By Mark Finn on September 19th, 2011

Hi can you help me – I am curently working from a couple of industial units – been here over 15 years. Never had an actuall lease.The estate is now in the hands of the receivers.How will this effect me and my employees. Can the new landlord force me out. I have over £400,0000.00 invested in internal alterations etc to the units. Other units on same estate some have leases others not.

By steven proctor on September 23rd, 2011

weare trading as a partnership and have 12 months left before our lease ends(break clause is in 6 months with and end date is 6 months later-however we have been in discussions with the landlord over the last 18 months due to struggling to pay rent in full-he has been very understanding up to now even to the point in spending their own money in stock to sell/and lowering rent-we realise we can not carry on and at their request wrote to inform them that we know we will not have the payment for end sept but will not have the dec so suggested we would vacate before the dec payment date-this has now been met with a reply that we are liable for all future rent/rates/insurance for the remaining 12 months-it seems by reading some of the blogs that we would be better being late with a payment and waiting for notice to forfeit meaning all future payments are void- i have not checked yet but can some leases have clauses preventing this-we have as i say told landlord we cant carry on but he says it is not his problem and will quite happly take us to court-mentinoning that our house is at risk even-i am the sole worker and will be going from self employed to un employed and assume any court claim if necesssary would be based on ability to pay based on income .i will be actively seeking employment anyway.but the thought of losing our home leaves my wife sick at the moment-any advice gratefully recieved thanks steve

By steven proctor on September 23rd, 2011

sorry should say we will have sept payment

By Daniel Bain on September 23rd, 2011

My landlord has sent me a section 25 notice of L+T to end my commercial lease and refuses to offer new one. What is the correct form for me to use to apply to the County Court to ask them to grant me a new Lease? He says he wants to demolish or reconstruct, but no planning application appears on the council website.He also claims I am in substantial breach of other Lease terms, but has supplied no details of what those breaches are.Can I apply for his eviction notice to be struck out on these grounds ? I also want to issue a s40 request for information, do I simply ask the Court office for a s40 L+T form?
Thanks in anticipation,
Danny

By steven proctor on September 24th, 2011

update on above query-landlord has suggested we should put a to let sign up as we might find someone to take over-in the current climate it is doubtful but we are prepared to give it a go anyway-question is,when we vacate which we will still have to do i presume i will hand the keys back to the landlord,in doing this because he will need to re-enter to access building(how does one actually know when someone has re entered as well) has he in theory accepted the surrender of the lease and forfeited the future of the current lease thus ending the right to any future expected payments i.e rent,rates,insurance

By John Chesworth on September 30th, 2011

Just a quick note to say we have had a glitch with the website at our end and the recent postings from 6 September 2011 onwards were not posted until today! I will be working through them over the next few days.

By Anne Mayes on September 30th, 2011

Hi

My daughter and I signed a 5 year commercial lease in Oct 2007. There is a 3 year rent review built in which was not actioned at that time due to the landlords dilatory manner. It does not state that the rent will necessarily rise in the review. Today, we were given a letter from letting agents (new to us)advising they are now acting on the landlords behalf and increasing the rent by 50% with effect from end October this year. We have never defaulted at all in any payments since we started the business.

My daughter and her partner separately from me rent the flat above the shop.They have arrears due to her partner losing his job, but have made arrangements through this agent to pay the rent and some off the arrears each month, which the landlord has agreed and they have been doing so for 4 months. The shop has been paying their water and electric bills as the landlord has not put in separate meters despite me requesting this from the time they entered the property(January 2008) He now refuses to do anything about it until they are out of arrears, which will take some time. I have also paid the full buildings insurance since 2008 as he insisted that they should pay their share, despite it being a residential property.

The shop cannot afford this big increase in rent; although we are maintaining the payments, we are only treading water really and hoping that we can survive the current downturn. This news has upset me greatly – I cannot see how we can go on.What rights do I have in regards to this huge increase. I gave up a well paid job to start this business and put all my money from the sale of my house after separation from my husband into starting this business with my daughter.. I am a mature lady that will not be able to re-enter the job market easily, especially given the current climate and feel really aggrieved that he feels that this is a necessary course of action at this time. Do I have any rights with regards the flat to re-couping the money from him, which I could use to offset the increase. The current situation is that we cannot afford this increase, however much he might want it. I also have no other assets following the sale of my house, so he would not be able to get anything from me should this go any further. It is just very upsetting that I might lose everything, after having worked 4 years for very little money and long hours just because of his greed. Thank you

By John Chesworth on October 3rd, 2011

Hi Michelle

A common problem encountered by commercial tenants is that a business lease generally puts an onerous repairing obligation on the tenant, which can sometimes mean the tenant is obliged to give the landlord back a building in a better state of repair than at the start of the lease. Therefore, if your lease put an obligation on you to keep the premises in repair and substantial work is required, it may well be that you have an obligation to pay the compensation your landlord is seeking.

If the lease was taken out in your name and not a company name, then you are personally liable for any compensation due to the landlord. If you simply cannot pay, then make the landlord aware of this, he may well want to avoid wasting money on pursuing someone who cannot pay a judgment.

I would also recommend that you take some professional advice in relation to your financial position, it could well be that an Individual Voluntary Arrangement could assist you but you will need to discuss this with an Insolvency Practitioner or Citizens Advice.

Best of luck.

John

By John Chesworth on October 3rd, 2011

Lorraine

The first question to ask is whether or not you have paid any rent to your landlady, and if so on what basis did you pay that rent? If you have not paid any rent then it is likely that you were what is known in law as a tenant at will. This means that a landlord can terminate the arrangement at any time, so the landlady was probably within her rights to change the locks if you hadn’t paid her any rent.

The position regarding the items in the property is better news. A tenant’s items within the premises such as kitchen equipment, furniture and stock remain the tenant’s property after a lease has ended. A landlord has the power to seize items belonging to a tenant if rent is owed, but this power only exists when there is a subsisting lease. As the landlady has retaken possession of the property she cannot claim there is a subsisting lease and hence cannot seize the items in the premises in lieu of unpaid rent.

If she continues to deny you access she is acting unlawfully and you can seek a court order that she allow you access in order to recover your items.

In relation to the general issue of whether to take a long term you lease you are right to be cautious. We are witnessing many small businesses hitting hard times and finding themselves unable to meet long term rental commitments. If possible try and negotiate a relatively short lease term that falls within the protection offered by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 which gives you a right to renew at the end of the term.

I hope this helps.

Regards

John

By John Chesworth on October 3rd, 2011

Hi Frances

A short point, with a short answer. Ensure the lease is subject to the exclusive jurisdcition of England and Wales, therefore there can be no doubt that any court action regarding the lease would have to be heard in an English Court.

Regards

John

By John Chesworth on October 3rd, 2011

Hi Mark

The good news is that a tenant who has occupied for over 12 months with our without a lease has the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act) which means that a Landlord can only bring his tenancy to an end by serving 6 months’ notice in a form prescribed by section 25 of the Act (Section 25 Notice). If a Section 25 notice is served, a tenant has an automatic right to request a new tenancy and the landlord can only object on limited grounds which include either default during your occupation (arrears of rent etc) or that the landlord wishes to redevelop or occupy himself. The rules concerning renewal are fairly complex. My advice to you is to sit tight at your existing rent as long as you can, the landlord cannot unilaterally raise the rent without following the termination procedure. If he does start with this procedure or seeks to alter your terms of occupation, then take some specialist advice.

Regards

John

By John Chesworth on October 3rd, 2011

Steven

Unfortunately, you are not alone in finding it tough out there. At least you have a break clause to limit your exposure to only 12 months. No matter what you do, I suggest you serve the break notice properly so you can at least limit your potential losses. If you are in any doubt as to the method of serving the break notice please take professional advice.

A landlord can unwittingly bring to an end the liability to pay rent by retaking possession of the premises. This can either be through forfeiture, where the landlord changes the locks following non-payment of rent, or the landlord unequivocally accepts an offer by the tenant to surrender the lease. If you want to try and bring the lease to an end by surrender, deliver the keys to the landlord with a letter stating that you have returned the keys to him in order to surrender the lease. The landlord may return them to you, or say he does not accept the surrender, if so then the plan has not worked. If he does nothing or even better changes the locks or re-lets the premises then it is probable that he will be deemed to have accepted the surrender and the lease will be terminated.

There is no hard and fast rule as to when a lease will be deemed terminated by surrender in this way, as the courts treat each case on its own merits. However, if keys are returned in the manner referred to above and a number of months pass, most courts would find that surrender was deemed to have been accepted.

Best of luck

John

By John Chesworth on October 3rd, 2011

Danny

The form to use to apply for a new tenancy is a Part 8 Claim Form. It is not a straight forward procedure amd if you can afford it I suggest you use a lawyer to make the application, the cost will be in the region of £500 plus VAT plus the court fee. A contested application for a new tenancy can cost between £10,000 – £20,000 per party, and the losing party will have to pay in the region of 70% of the winner’s costs.

As a staring point I suggest you write to the landlord asking him to disclose all evidence of his alleged intention to redevelop and also to provide details of the alleged breaches of the lease. If he fails to do this, you will have a strong argument in relation to the costs award in any subsequent court proceedings.

A request under section 40 of the LTA is not done through the court initially. You should be able to get the form from the internet, if not drop me an e-mail and I will send one through to you.

As a final point, you must ensure the application to court is made before the date referred to in the section 25 notice.

I hope it all goes well.

Regards

John

By John Chesworth on October 6th, 2011

Hi Anne,

As you will appreciate we cannot give advice on specific cases through the blog as we do not have site of all the documents or the full facts. However, I can give you a few pointers of general relevance that should be of assistance. Most commercial leases of over three years have a mechanism for reviewing the rent after a given period of time. The provisions for rent review in commercial leases are complex and can often vary from lease to lease. I strongly recommend you contact your solicitor to get advice specific to your lease and circumstances.

It is common for the rent review to be “upwards only” meaning that the amount of rent following review will be the higher of the open market rent valued in accordance with the terms of the lease and the passing rent immediately before the review date. In relation to timing of the review, most leases do not make it obligatory for the landlord to conduct the review before the actual review date, and when the review is completed the landlord is usually entitled to backdate the increase to the review date. Therefore, a landlord under most leases could still conduct a review years after the review date has actually passed even if they have been dilatory. With regard to the amount of rent being sought, it is highly unusual for a lease to state that a landlord can dictate the new rent, it has to be the subject of some form of independent valuation if not agreed with the tenant. You need to take professional advice on this point from a local commercial property agent who is experienced in rent valuations. If your lease in 2007 was granted at an open market rent then it would be very surprising in the current economic climate for the open market rent to have risen by 50%. The lease may well have a provision that the tenant needs to respond to a notice from the landlord seeking to trigger the rent review within a given period. You need to ensure that you respond to the notice within this period or you may be deemed to accept the figure the landlord has proposed.

In short, if you occupy under a commercial lease with a standard rent review provision you should be able to challenge the landlord’s proposed increase, but to do so you will need to be armed with valuation advice as to the correct current rental figure and you will need specific legal advice on the terms of the rent review procedure under your lease.

I hope this helps and best of luck.

John

By Eunice on October 24th, 2011

Hi

My husband and I purchased a fish & chip shop last October,we took over a 15 year lease from the vendor which has a 4 year review. Unfortuntely we have not been very lucky and the business is doing so badly. We have had to borrow £20k to put into the business in one year and there is no way we can continue doing that.

We didn’t check and our solicitors didn’t make as aware of a break clause in the lease, some how I don’t think there is one.

As if a failing business is not enough, my husband and I are getting a divorce so I’d like to get out of the lease as it is not in my best interest to be business partners with him if we are no longer married. Who knows what he might decide to do with the little money he takes since I don’t work in the shop with him.

Question to you is, if there is no break clause in a commercial lease, and one cannot afford to keep the business going, is there any way of getting out of the lease agreement. I don’t want to lose my house, it’s my only asset and I have two young kids. Can the landlord come and take my home if his rent is not paid?

I know it’s our fault for not checking about a break clause before signing the lease but we were so excited at the time, it didn’t occur to us the business might/could fail, infact I only found out about break clauses on the internet when the business started doing so badly.

Although we are a limited company the lease is in our personal names as that was the only way the landlord will let us take it on.

Please help, I’m an emotional wreck, can’t sleep, can’t eat, I’ve lost all hope. I know we have been very stupid but I’m hoping we can find a way out of this.

thanks

By John Chesworth on October 27th, 2011

Eunice

I am sorry to hear about your predicament.

If you took over an existing lease, then the role of your solicitor will have been to explain the terms of the lease you were taking on. Obvously it is your decision from a commercial perspective whether or not you take on the lease. If it was an existing lease and there was no break clause in it, then you get the lease as it is for the full length of the remaining term. However, if you were negotiating a brand new lease you could try and agree a break clause, but this would be subject to agreement with the landlord before the lease was entered into.

As it stands you have a lease with no break clause, and therefore the main two ways in which it could be terminated before the end of the 15 year term, are if the landlord agrees to a surrender, which is very unlikely in the current economic climate, or if the landlord forfeits the lease by taking back possession, again this is unlikely as the landlord will not want an empty unit.

In short you have no way to alleviate yourself from the liability to pay rent without your landlord’s agreement. I suspect he will only agree to any deal if he has someone else to pay him rent for the property. If arrears of rent accrue, the landlord could sue you for the those arrears and if he gets a county court judgment, he could enforce these arrears against your assets including your home.

A way to resolve the position will be to try and assign the lease to someone who wants to take on the business. This will of course require your husband’s co-operation, but if the business is not doing well it may be the best route for both of you. I strongly recommend you speak to your divorce solicitor and get an agreement with your husband as to how the lease will be dealt with going forward.

Best of luck

John

By Eunice on October 28th, 2011

Hi John

Thank you so much.

By maria on November 16th, 2011

Hi, I have been reading through you website and need some advice we have an ongoing lease with a pubco and are liable for ongoing repairs, we pay our rent in two parts commercial downstairs and private upstairs they tell me we are responsible for the boiler repairs and servicing the boiler is upstairs tried looking through the landlord and tenants act 1985 which pubco say is part of the lease ??? who is liable for repairs.
Many Thanks Maria.

By John Chesworth on November 22nd, 2011

Maria

Unfortunately we can’t give detailed advice on case specific issues. The relevance of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (the Act) relates to repairs to residential tenancies. Where section 11 of the Act applies, the landlord is responsible for the repair of the installations for water and heating.

You need to ask the solicitor who advised you when you took the lease to explain whether or not the Act applies to you. If it does, then you can call on the landlord to carry out the repairs.

Best of luck.

John

By Kate Thurling on November 22nd, 2011

I have been managing a company for the past 10 years, and in November 2010 signed a 5 year lease to our building. However, the shareholders of the company have since decided to sell up and voluntarily liquidate the company. My question is this – am I personally in any way liable for the lease. I am just the manager and company secretary for the company, it is a limited company and no personal guarantees were given with the lease (obviously, as it was me who signed it) Is there any way the company can close without having to pay the remaining 4 years of the lease – I understand we will lose our deposit, that is fair enough, but if we have to pay the remaining £160,000 for 4 years we may as well go bust rather than voluntarily liquidate
Thanks
Kate

By John Chesworth on November 23rd, 2011

Kate

What I can’t comment on is the mode of insolvency the company has chosen, but I am very surprised to hear that they are able to voluntarily liquidate, when the company has a liability under the lease for the next 4 years. If the company has not taken expert advice from an Insolvency Practitioner, I suggest this is done immediately.

With regard to your position as a director and secretary of the company, if:-

a) the company is the tenant, and
b) you have only signed the lease as a director of the company on its behalf, and
c) you have not given personal guarantees for the company’s obligations,

you are on the face of it free from personal liability under the lease. However, directors can in some circumstances be liable for any company debt, for example, where there has been wrongful trading. Again, I suggest you seek advice from an Insolvency Practitioner in this respect if you have any concerns.

Regards

John

By Ian Cookney on December 21st, 2011

i have been in fast food premises from 1996 to todays date under a “Licence” for a single year period. The licence was signed by myself and the owner of the property. Recently i was shown the licence, which i was not given a copy of, which had a family members name as “witness”.This person was not there at the time of signing. It may seem naive of me not to receive a copy but, at the time, he was a friend whom i previously worked for and had reason to trust.I appreciate that in hindsight it should all have been done with the correct documentation. Circumstances have since developed that he has sold the property and the purchaser has intimated to others, but not me , that he will allow other tenants to remain for one more year. There are five shops within the building. The previous owners son approached me before the sale and offered a small reduction in rent for last year if i signed a one year lease backdated for that year, and also a new one year lease for when the new owner took possession. I refused to sign either lease. I should be grateful if you would advise me whether or not i can be held to the “Licence” as a roll over yearly obligation or whether or not i have Leasehold rights after such a long period of time. The previous owner was operating an amusement arcade within the same building complex and when in september he advised me the premises would be sold i asked him what the future owners would do with the arcade, he stated, “make it into a cafe”. If this is the case then it would have a direct affect on my ability to trade profitably due to the added competition. Does he have the right to do this as i have always had a verbal agreement from the previous owner that i would have sole rights to sell food? I have witheld payment of the rent as i feel i am being unjustly treated and the previous owner has now asked for the keys of my premises. To shed light on the nature of the people i have been dealing with, when i first agreed to take on the premises i said no because the rent was too high for the expected return from the premises, the owner then came back to me and suggested that if the rent is inclusive of utility charges would i take it on? i.e. electric, water, gas, I agreed. After three years he verbally told me that i would be paying these charges which i objected to because he had broken our previous agreement, but felt i had no choice to pay to keep the business.I was given nothing in writing. There is no mention of paying these charges in the “licence” — i truly dont know what to do now as he is coming to my door demanding payments and in fact has visited an ex staff members door demanding i hand the keys back. The police were called and they said they would warn him of his actions. please offer me some advice as to how i should deal with this situation. — regards.

By afzal on December 29th, 2011

hi john.
I have a complicated one. firstly i did not seek legal advice from the start due to lack of funds which i now regret. basically i signed a 5 year lease with a 18 month break clause. 9 months into the business the business went insolvent. i thought i would be ok as it was a limited company but my stupidity when i read the lease i realised i had signed it my own name. as it stated if you a director for a company sign here. it was my understanding i was signing on behalf of the company. i have offered to surrender the lease but to no avail. i also offerrd to pay the full rent up to the 18 months but all he says is he’s put a board up until it goes on rent i am liable. i dont know whether this lease can be added to my insolvency. i didnt make a personal guarantee but stupidly assume i was signing as a director.

By afzal on December 29th, 2011

any advice would greatly be appteciated. thanks john.

By afzal on December 29th, 2011

oh yeah john the copy i signed i was told i would receive a hard copy but never recieved one. all i have is a draft. it was witnessed by an estate agent only. i dont think solicitor was consulted either way.

By John Chesworth on January 3rd, 2012

Ian

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you, as you will appreciate, the Christmas break has intervened.

As with all other responses in this blog, we cannot give case specific advice as we do not have all the relevant details, and there is not formal solicitor – client relationship. However, I can give you some general pointers on the following issues you have raised which I have identified as follows:-

1. Do you have a lease or a licence?
2. If you have a lease, what are your rights?
3. Do you have sole rights to sell food?
4. Are the cost of utilities included in the rent?

A licence is a permission to occupy property on a non-exclusive basis, whereas, a tenancy grants to the tenant a right of exclusive occupation, (often subject to certain rights of inspection by the landlord). A tenancy can be created without a written agreement, and even where there is a written licence agreement, the courts will look to what is actually happening at the premises to decide whether the relationship amounts to a licence or is in fact a tenancy.

If there is exclusive occupation of defined premises with a rent payable, then the courts have been quite prepared to find that a tenancy exists, even where there is a written licence agreement.

In your case, I understand there has only been one 12 month written agreement as opposed to a series of licence agreements. As this arrangement has gone on for 15 years or more, it would not surprise me if a court found that you had a periodic tenancy of the premises, in which case that tenancy will have the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. This protection means that your landlord cannot end the tenancy without first serving not less than 6 months notice in the prescribed form, and when that notice is served you can apply to court for a new tenancy. In short, this protection puts the tenant in a much stronger position.

In relation to your claim to have sole selling rights, this is much more difficult to assess. There have been cases where a tenant in a multi-let arcade has successfully argued that the allowing competition into the arcade was a derogation from grant, but the evidence of the grant of sole selling rights was much stronger in these cases, than a verbal agreement. You would have to prove to the court that the assertion was actually given by the landlord and that you relied on it in entering into the original agreement. The outcome of any such claim would be uncertain if you were to take legal action, should the landlord allow competition.

Finally, turning to the payment for utilities, you will need to see what the original licence agreement said about utilities. If you have been paying them for a number of years, then I think it will be difficult for you to argue that the rent now covers these outgoings.

I think you need to take some detailed legal advice if you want to stay in the premises. One option open to you is to serve a notice asking for a written tenancy of the premises pursuant to section 26 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

If you would like us to provide a quote, please e-mail me at john.chesworth@harrison-drury.com and I will gladly oblige.

Regards

John

By John Chesworth on January 3rd, 2012

Afzal

I am sorry to hear of your predicament.

Commercial leases to limited companies quite often contain personal guarantees. However, it must be clear from the lease that the individual is giving a personal guarantee. If the lease has only been signed by you on behalf of the company, then any personal guarantee will not be binding, as the personal guarantee must also be signed in your personal capacity. Of course, it will be necessary to see the lease in order to advise properly.

Also, when is the break date for the lease? Are you too late to serve a break notice? If you can still validly serve a break notice this ought to limit your personal exposure to the 18 month period.

In order to advise further, you would need to instruct us and let me have a copy of the lease. If you want me to look at this further, please e-mail me on john.chesworth@harrison-drury.com and I will be happy to provide a quote.

Regards

John

By Abdul on January 8th, 2012

Hi there I wanted to know that I have a commercial property where I have not got a lease on but they are still paying me rent on time dd so will there be a problem if now I wish to sell the property? please if you can advice me what can they do and what is the outcome ok thank you very much

By John Howard on January 10th, 2012

I own a paint shop, trading as a limited company that was liquidated in late July 2011. I formed a new ltd company, bought the assets of the old company from the liquidator and have continued trading from the same business premises. I have paid the ongoing rent monthly( £3K) to the landlord and also paid off nearly all the arrears that I had when we went bust. The liquidator disclaimed the original lease on 17th November 2011. Now my landlord has posted me a copy of the disclaim notice and has given me seven days to get out.I am aware that a monthly periodic tenancy may have been created under the 1954 Act, but what do I do if the baliffs turn up ?

By John Chesworth on January 13th, 2012

Abdul

If you have a commercial tenant operating a business from the property and paying rent on time then it is probable that their tenancy will have the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1995 (the Act). The Act gives the tenant rights which I have referred to in posts above and makes it difficult to get the tenant out as long as they are complying with the terms of their lease.

You are free to sell the property, but whoever buys it will also have to take on your current tenant, you will be unlikely to be able to sell the property with vacant possession if the tenant wishes to stay.

Regards

John

By John Chesworth on January 13th, 2012

John

It is difficult to know what your new company’s rights of occupation are without seeing the agreement by which you acquired the assets of your old comany.

It is not uncommon for asset purchase agreements under “pre-pack” deals to grant the purchaser a licence to occupy the presmies tenanted by the insovent company, but this is usually subject to the proviso that if the landlord objects the buyer must get out of the premises. You will need to speak to the lawyer who assisted you in this process to establish the basis upon which the new company occupied the premises.

Arguably, if there was no licence agreement in place, and the landlord knew that the new company was in occupation and he accepted rent from it, a periodic tenancy may have been created. However, in order to understand the exact type of occupation arrangement it is necessary to know all the facts including any dialogue and correspondance between occupant and lanlord.

If you want us to advise, please e-mail me on john.chesworth@harrison-drury.com.

Regards

John

By Ross on January 24th, 2012

Hello John,

Firstly, thanks for the very informative blog – most helpful.

Now for my question :0)

My wife and I have a new business and have been trading for about 6 months now, but it has become evident that we will most probably not be able to survive next winter (sales are extremely seasonal).

We are a ltd company and have a 12 year lease on the shop property with break clause at years 4 and 8.

If we liquidated the company in the autumn and ceased trading would we still be liable for rent payments? We have not given any personal guarantees in regards to the rent.

Also, if we somehow managed to sell the business to someone else how would transferring the lease work and would we get our deposit back?

Many thanks,
Ross

By John Chesworth on January 26th, 2012

Hi Ross

I am sorry to hear of the difficulty with your business.

If you have not given personal guarantees for the tenant’s covenants under the lease then the landlord will only be able to claim in the liquidation for any unpaid rent as an unsecured creditor of the company. Subject to the proviso below, you and your wife will not be personally liable.

Directors of companies, can however, become personally liable for company debt if they have been guilty of wrongful trading, which most often occurs when the directors have continued trading when the company is insolvent. When it comes to winding up your company, I strongly recommend that you seek the advice of an experienced Insolvency Practioner, if you need a recommendation, we can assist.

In terms of a sale of the business, if you sold the shares in your company, which is the cleanest way from your perspective, then you will need to ensure that the buyer pays to you a sum equivalent to the deposit, as the deposit will remain with the landlord. I suspect that if the sale of the business is by asset sale and your lease is assigned, the landlord will only agree to release your deposit if the new tenant replaces it.

In short, you will only get your deposit back if your buyer agrees to pay a sum equivalent to it, in addition to what they pay for the business.

I hope this helps, it would be a lot worse if you had given personal guarantees!

Regards

John

By steven proctor on February 11th, 2012

hi john,first i must say i find it an extremely informative,helpful and interesting blog to read-could you please help with what would happen if this scenario arose-
i can not pay my next qtly rental due on my commercial lease as the partnership business is insolvent-i breach my covenant in the lease,Q.does the landlord have to excercise the right to forfieture or can he choose to only pursue us for the rent via the courts and choose to not end the lease by reclaiming the property leaving us liable until the lease ends. regards steve

By John Chesworth on February 14th, 2012

Hi Steve

Many thanks for your kind comments regarding the blog.

With regard to your question, the landlord does not have to exercise his option to terminate the lease by forfeiture. He can choose to allow the lease to continue and claim for the rent due under the lease on an ongoing basis until the end of the lease term.

The best option is to find someone willing to take an assgnment of the lease which will make them primarily liable for the rent. However, you will probably be asked to guarantee the rent if the new tenant defaulted, so not an absolute release of liability.

Alternatively, you could see whether the landlord will accept a one off payment to take a surrender of the lease, he could make a profit if he relets quickly.

Best of luck

John

By karen Le grys on March 14th, 2012

Hi
We desperately need advice.We entered into an aga agreement when the lease for a pizza restaurant.We the sold the lease .The gentleman has not been paying since march.The landlords were the co-op they sold to Asda in June.we received a demand for the unpaid rent in December 2011.we were given two weeks to pay.What we would like to know is should they have notified us sooner to allow us to sort out the problem with the tenant and the landlord.Also has anything changes as we signed the aga agreement with the co-op not asda.We have asked for a meeting with asda and the tennant but asda have declined any type of negotiation.

By shay soni on March 22nd, 2012

I have a lease in which I have a break clause at the 5th year. I wish to exercise this clause but the landlord is saying that as I broke the terms of the lease he will not let me exercise it.
He alleges I broke the terms of the lease by being late twice in paying the rent.
I accept this fact, but can he actually refuse to allow me to exercise the break clause because of this?

By Joe on March 28th, 2012

Hello John,

Firstly, thank you for the useful information on this site.

I hope that you can advise me on the below.

I have a commercial lease that was assigned to me around 5 years ago. At the time of signing, I and the LL signed a document which agreed on a rent increase from what the previous tenant was paying as well as setting out a new interval for the rent review. Furthermore, the document stated that the rent review would be in-line with the rate of inflation. The aforementioned points contradict what is written in the lease regarding a rent review that occurs at a different interval and based on open market values.

My question is, does the content of the lease regarding rent review override the later signed document with the above new statements?

Many thanks

By John Chesworth on March 29th, 2012

Kirsten

Apologies for the delay but we have been in the middle of moving offices over the last few weeks.

In relation to your query, landlords will usually insist upon an AGA when a tenant wishes to transfer a lease. As your solicitor will have advised you the AGA is a guarantee you give to the landlord in respect of the performance by the incoming tenant of his obligations under the lease including the obligation to pay rent.

If a landlord wants to enforce the AGA in respect of rent payments they must give you notice in a form prescribed by section 17 of the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 (the Act) within 6 months of the rent falling due. Therefore, if the first notice you got was in December 2011, they can only claim rent from June 2011 and the notice must have been in the correct form, I suggest you ask your solicitor to look over the notice.

In terms of the change of landlord, most AGAs are drafted in terms that the landlord is defined so as to include not only the landlord when the AGA was entered into, but also successors in title should the landlord sell his interest to someone else. Again, I suggest you check with your solicitor as to how the AGA was drafted.

With regard to the payment time, there is nothing in statute to govern how long you have to pay. If the sum is properly payable under section 17 of the Act, then your best course of action will be to agree a payment plan with the landlord. Once you start paying the rent, you are entitled to take an overriding lease of the premises if you wish.

Best of luck

John

By John Chesworth on March 29th, 2012

Shay,

Thanks for your post.

It depends on the terms of the break clause, however, it is rare that a break clause is lost due to a breach of a tenant’s obligation before the break date, as long as that breach has been remedied when the break date arrives. Break clauses can be conditional on a number of factors, usually they require the tenant to have given a period of written notice (often 6 months), to have paid all the rent due and sometimes to have complied with the other covenants in the lease.

The fact there has been late payment of rent in the past does not normally deprive a tenant of a break right, where the rent is up to date on the break date unless there was interest due to be paid on the late rent and this has not been paid.

It is not possible to advise further without sight of a copy of the lease.

Regards

John.

By John Chesworth on March 29th, 2012

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your comments regarding the site.

In relation to your query, the starting point is the lease that was assigned to you. The provisions can be varied, and for them to be varied properly, the variation should be by deed which means the agreement to vary is in writing and has been executed as a deed by the parties.

However, written agreement that do not have the formality of a deed have been held to vary the terms of a lease, particularly if after they have been entered into the parties have behaved in accordance with them.

To advise fully, we would need to see the original lease and subsequent agreement. However, if you accept that the agreement was entered into fairly when you took the assignment, I suspect you will have difficulty seeking to go back and rely on the terms of the lease.

I hope this helps.

regards

John

By Maria on May 8th, 2012

My landlord changed the locks and forfeitured the lease however items were missing when I was eventually allowed to remove my goods. No inventory was produced…..is this practise legal and can I reclaim the value of the missing items ?

By james on May 30th, 2012

i have had my business up for sale for almost a year, found a buyer in january.the land lord objected even though he has good references and we have beeen in talks for 6 months, in this time i have paid the rent even when the shop closed.i am now one month behind on the rent and he has changed the locks.no notice has been given and our property is still in the shop.is the lease cancelled.

By Elaine temblett on May 30th, 2012

My ( commercial ) tenant is currantly in jail he was extradited to Turky to serve a 12 yr sentence My question is can he still have a valid lease. The lease was renewed in November for 8yrs I get the rent paid via his solicitor but I want to get out of the lease. Is there any legal reason to allow this?

By John Chesworth on June 1st, 2012

Maria

If you can prove the items were there at the date the lease was forfeited, you will be able to claim the value of those goods from the landlord if they have since gone, unless there is anything in the lease which provides otherwise. When a landlord takes possession of a property through forfeiture, they assume a respnsibility to look after the goods in the property.

Best of luck,

John

By John Chesworth on June 1st, 2012

James,

The landlord can forfeit the lease if the rent falls behind, but it sounds as though the landlord has been waiting for this to happen. You are entitled to get back into the property if you pay all arrears of rent and the landlord’s costs of changing the locks.

Under most leases the landlord has an obligation to agree to the assignment of a lease unless he can reasonably refuse to grant consent to the assignment. If the landlord was unreasonable in denying consent to assignment of the lease you may have a claim against him for the losses you have suffered. This could include the loss of the sale price.

If you want to pursue this further with us then please give me a call on 01772 258321.

Regards

John

By John Chesworth on June 1st, 2012

Elaine,

If the tenant is paying the rent the only way you can terminate the lease will be if there are any other breaches of the lease. Is the property repaired in accordance with the terms of the lease? If not you can seek to evict the tenant on this basis. However, he must be given an opportunity of carrying out the repairs.

If you want to discuss this further please give me a call on 01772 258321.

Regards

John

By michelle hunston on June 8th, 2012

hi, the company i work for has not paid the rent on a shop they lease the landlord has changed the locks and wont allow access because they owe him money , i understand he is within his rights to do this but can he re- lease the shop while the company are still under lease or does the fact we owe them money void us from the lease and what will happen to the property in the shop ? thanks michelle

By John Chesworth on June 12th, 2012

Hi Michelle

Under most commercial leases the landlord has the right to retake possession of a commercial property if the rent is a specified number of days late. This is a process known as forfeiture and is most commonly done by changing the locks on the property as has happened in the case you mention.

The tenant can re-instate the lease if it pays all the arrears of rent and the landlord’s costs of retaking possession. However, the tenant must act quickly as one of the reasons a court can refuse to allow the tenant back into possession is if the landlord has re-let the premises.

With regard to the stock in the premises, the tenant should make arrangements to remove the stock. Unless the lease says otherwise the landlord has no right to retain the tenant’s belongings after the lease has been terminated by forfeiture.

I hope this helps.

Regards

John

By kelly allen on July 4th, 2012

In aug 2011 i closed my business and left the property because it was rented and I had found new tenants for the landlord who took over the property soon after I left, when I left the property I was behide on the rent iI just didn’t have the money to pay him so on 24 dec 2011 he said he would start court processing to get the rent back, it’s now 4 july 2012 and I have not heard anything from him, court or his solicitor, until today he has emailed demanding the rent, it’s nearly a year since I left the property can he demand the rent now?

By Tilly on July 7th, 2012

Hello, In December last year my church took a lease on a property for five years. Due to the state of the property, we were given a five months grace period for the rent. The amount we were expecting to spend on the property has hugely exceed the budget. There is no electricity in the building which we werent aware of until we started working in the property. This is because there was theft of electricity in the building so the light was on when we switched it on on the day we went viewing.

Being a church, this has cause lots of grief as we were not able to operate without the electricity. We then had to depend on generator which is obviously a health hazard. The landlord has refused to help us in getting electricity and all he is interested in is his money and us getting raid of the generator because his insurer is not will to insure the property.

UK power network is asking for nearly £3000 pound before they provide us with a meter which we can’t afford. What do we do please?

By mukund on July 8th, 2012

my ltd company had a underlease to a lease for a commerical property from 01/06, which expired in 06/11. from the date we signed the underlease the head lease holder never requsted or demanded the rent until 03/12.now he is demanding the rent arrears.how do we stand

By John Chesworth on July 9th, 2012

Hi Kelly

Anyone claiming a debt can start court proceedings to recover that debt up to 6 years from the date the debt fell due. If your lease was made by deed, then that time period is extended to 12 years.

Not the news you were probably hoping for.

Kind regards

John

By John Chesworth on July 9th, 2012

Hi Tilly,

When renting a property, particularly one that needs work doing to it, it is important to get a survey of the property so you can assess how much will need spending on it before you enter into a legally binding tenancy agreement.

Unless the landlord has an obligation under your tenancy agreement to provide electricity, or misled you into believing that the property had electricity, then it will be your responsibility to pay for the installation of electricity and the landlord is unlikely to have to contribute to it.

Regards

John

By Tilly on July 10th, 2012

Many thanks John for your reply. Stay blessed.

By John Chesworth on July 10th, 2012

Hi Mukund

As I mentioned earlier, a landlord has 6 years to recover arraears of rent, and 12 years if the tenancy under which the rent is claimed is made by deed.

Regards

John

By Khonos Slavaki on July 11th, 2012

Hi, my 5 year lease is about to expire. I didn’t have a schedule of condition put in place when the lease began and now the landlord is, through his surveyor, asking for some quite outrageous repairs to be made on the property. including a new roof. As i am now regretting the lease is full repairing and out of the act. I have photographic evidence (including pictures that the agent used when marketing the property 5 years ago) to show the property was in nowhere near the condition the landlord is alleging it was given to me in but it was not attached to the lease. Surely that these pictures were used for marketing has some value? Else what options do I have. The landlord is sitting on a substantial deposit of mine.

Also viewings. the lease says i have to for potential purchasers. But these are potential leasors. is there a difference? Can I use it as a bargaining chip?

Also the landlord asked me to allow some potential leasors to view the property for about the 10th time – unsupervised. In the end they actually used my meeting rooms and facilities to conduct various meetings for some 2.5hrs. Is this some kind of breach to my contractual obligation that can be used in bargaining.

I appreciate any help or offers you can give me. I feel that I am about to lose a substantial amount of money.

By John Chesworth on July 12th, 2012

Khonos

Many thanks for your post.

If your lease has a repairing obligation which states that you are to keep the property in repair and does not limit your obligations in any way then you have to put right any disrepair that was present at the property when your lease started. In these circumstances, it does not matter if you can prove there was disrepair when you took on the lease, you are obliged to put right any disrepair at the property.

The repairing covenant is sometimes limited stating that the tenant shall not be obliged to put the property in any better state and condition than at the date of the lease, or no better state than evidenced by a schedule of condition. If such a limitation is present, then it will be for the landlord to prove that the disrepair has occurred after the lease was entered into, or was not recorded in the schedule of condition. If your repairing covenant is not limited then unfortunately, you will be liable to put right any disrepair. I would strongly recommend that you get a building surveyor with expertise in dilapidations claims to assist you in negotiating the landlord’s claim.

If the lease is outside of the 1954 Act you will have no right to renew the lease. I suggest you take advice as to whether the contracting out procedure was properly followed. If it was not you may have a right to renew the lease.

In short you need some detailed legal advice and also the help of a good surveyor.

Kind regards

John

By Khonos Slavaki on July 16th, 2012

Thanks so much John. I have a meeting with the landlord this week and hopefully can make a workable deal, else i will have to consult with a lawyer and surveyor. Either way an expensive lesson.

Khonos

By Clare London on July 16th, 2012

Dear John

What a reassuring thing it has been to read this site and know there are expert and KIND persons answering questions. Congratulations for a wonderful site.

My question is this.

I am running a small arts venue that is struggling financially but is in other respects popular and successful. However, it needs funding and at present I am in the process of applying for charitable status.

The lease is under Landlord and Tenant and there are some 10 years remaining on it. I wish to continue the lease.

Rent fell due on the quarter day (25/6) and as at today’s date is 3 week’s overdue. The landlord sent up a baillif who said he was here to change the locks unless I immediately paid baillifs’ costs of some £350. I kept saying to him that there will be money coming in shortly and also that when the venue becomes a charity there will be donations and money to spare, but that today literally there was nothing in the bank account. He was very threatening, for an hour, saying I had to go and borrow money to pay him and he wasn’t going away. I spoke to the landlord who was completely obdurate, despite my telling him there were monies coming in.

The baillif shouted over me, twisted everything I said and at one point, with his mobile on his lap for a three-way conversation between him, the landlord and me, lied. I said I would guarantee to get the baillifs fees to him in 5 days, and even though I had continually said it was impossible at a moment’s notice, he and the landlord both pretended I had suddenly said tonight.

He kept doing good cop bad cop and pretending he liked me and ‘wanted to try to help me’. He said we’d go inside to talk and gave me his car keys saying I could hold them to ‘prove nothing was going to happen’. I said he had to tell me first what he was going to do before I would let him in. He said he would take a walking possession order on things inside the venue AND must have the £350 costs tonight. “Both – ?” I said. I told him again I could not get hold of £350 at a moment’s notice. I don’t have a credit card. So he said then I left him with no choice but to change the locks. Etc etc and on it went for an hour.

Then to my surprise later I saw he had gone rather than calling a locksmith and changing the locks. It is only now reading your blog I understand why. Because had he done so he would have been terminating the lease and then would not be able to get future rents. So he was trying to con me into letting him in and when I wouldn’t, and quite clearly couldn’t get hold of the £350 instantly, or ‘ask friends to lend it me’, or ‘use a credit card’ – then he went.

Now, I am at the moment fundraising heavily for support for this venue, pending its setting up as a charity and my position is that if I can’t get into the venue at all to work in the office and get that funding in, they won’t get anything.

The venue is actually two properties knocked through, two separate leases. The baillif actually came to the door of the premises that his landlord does NOT own. The 3 week arrears relates to a lease on 257, but he came to the door of 255.

I argued that he had no right to change the locks of the adjoining premises. He said because the premises were knocked through inside, that it made no difference and he had the right to enter the premises through either door and to change the locks on all the doors to both premises.

I didn’t believe him, but couldn’t check with a solicitor because it was after hours. Is that CORRECT or NOT?

(2) Lessee

This venue is at present not a limited company. (It is about to set up as However, although I run the venue, the actual owner, who paid for the whole thing to be built in the first place, does not own a property and does not own a car. Neither do I own either of those things. The landlord on the phone said he was going to go after the owner, Mark and bankrupt him if he wouldn’t pay the arrears and the future rent. I said he didn’t own anything, nor did I, which again is probably why the baillif left.

So – bearing in mind the lessee has not assets whatsoever and I don’t and bearing in mind the sum is only £2250 that is owed in rent, and that if they change the locks they will be left with two properties knocked through, one of which belongs to a separate freeholder – AND they would have to spend money bricking up the dividing supporting wall – HOW can I negotiate with them to wait calmly until the funds come through? Is there anything I can do by way of going to court to get them to allow me to negotiate reasonable part payments now while this fundraising goes through?

Sorry this is so very long.

I’d be so grateful for any advice you can offer.

By pauline marion on August 1st, 2012

dear john

my landlord put scaffolding round the building without notice,builders just appeared while i was in the shop,and i was informed that works would take twelve weeks.this was mid july and scaffolding was eventually taken down nearly eight months later.this was from july to february which resulted in us losing thousands of pounds over the xmas period.

shortly after this, in april,landlord increased rent by 66%.i also rent the house above the shop,where i fell into arrears due to the revenue i was losing in the shop, where rent was also raised 66%.

got in touch with landlord and it was agreed verbally that rent for the shop would go up in increments over the year and rent for the house would be reassessed the following year.have now received a letter stating that arrears must be paid by 1st september and the rent for house would also be rising at this time.have phoned landlord several times to dispute this and have left messages but my calls are being ignored.it is now august and time is running out.

shop is slowly re-establishing itself and just as we were getting back on track the landlord rented the empty propertynext door to someone selling goods nearly identical to ourselves which has had devastating effects on our turnover.

also to add insult to injury there is also a member of the landlords staff moved into the house next door who seems to know all my business which is very uncomfortable. i have also found out that the new tennant of the shop and the house next door are getting reduced rents.it feels like my large rent rises are subsidising these.

another issue is with the refuse bin of the new shop tennants.the staff member who moved into the house next door has decided that they dont want the refuse bin belonging to the new shop tennant on there side of the property and it has now been moved into my garden,which incidentally they tried to rent out to an anonymous neighbour who decided they would quite like a vegetable plot.they kept this from me and i only found out through the grapevine and managed to stop it.they sounded quite shocked that i knew about it.

call me paranoid, but it sounds like they are trying to force me out, please help

thank you

By Greg Poole on August 5th, 2012

Hi John,

I have just received my Sevice Charge Statement for the commercial retail unit that i lease. The balancing charge is 350% above the estimated Service Charge that i have already paid for the financial period. The landlord has done what it states as ” External Building Repairs and Maintenance” and has passed the cost of this onto myself and a few other retail units in the same row. The work hasnt benefited my unit in any way as no actual work was carried out on the unit that i lease. I believe they have basically ‘tarted’ the main area of our building up, which sits directly above our retail units, because the previous tenant has left and they want to make it more desirable to find a new tenant. There isnt a cap on the amount that they can charge within our lease but at a 350% increase is not fair or reasonable. How can anybody plan for such a bill etc Can they a. Legally do this? b. What i can do to challenge their excessive demand? c. What can they do if i simply do not pay it?
Any information would be greatly appreciated..
Regards
Greg

By John Chesworth on August 6th, 2012

Hi Clare

If a bailiff has attended and exercises distress for rent (usually done in the first instance by taking walking possession of the tenant’s good in the premises), this will be treated as a sign that the landlord does not wish to terminate the lease arising from the failure to pay the rent, then outstanding. This does not prevent a landlord from terminating the lease for future breaches of the obligation to pay rent on time. The bailiff was walking a tight rope between the two remedies, which a landlord should never do, as they may find they inadvertently rule out the lawful exercise of one of their potential remedies.

Turning to your questions, unless expressly provided for in your lease, neither the bailiff nor your landlord has any right to go onto property that they have no interest in. Having said that, if there is a provision in your lease permitting the landlord or his agents to inspect the premises, then you would have to make access available to them by some means. A careful read of the lease is in order. What the bailiff cannot do is to change the locks in a door of the premises which is not part of the premises you lease from the landlord who has instructed him.

With regard to your second query, most commercial landlords will want a medium to long term solution that sees them getting their rent paid regularly by a financially stable tenant. Unless the landlord has a tenant waiting to go in, and can also do a deal with your other landlord, it would seem from a commercial perspective, he would be better waiting for you to get your funds together. Having said that, you need to make sure the venture is commercially viable so that you don’t encounter this problem again. A court will not necessarily stop the landlord terminating the lease if he went through the process properly, the only situation where the courts intervene in potentially lawful forfeiture is where the tenant has entered some form of insolvency regime such as administration.

If you want to remain in the property, I think you need to go to the landlord demonstrating your business plan to make the premises financially viable and try and rebuild some bridges.

Regards

John

By John Chesworth on August 6th, 2012

Dear Pauline

The starting point for your query is to examine your lease. Commercial leases usually provide a framework setting out what works the landlord can do to the premises and how they ought to be carried out.

With regard to rent increases, if the term of the lease has not expired, the landlord can only increase the rent if there is a rent review provision in the lease. Normally, the rent can only go up to the open market rent, so unless your property was at a very low rent the increase seems very high.

In relation to the other conduct you complain of, your lease may assist you in this respect.

If there is no lease, then your tenancy is likely to be a periodic lease running from week to week or month to month depending on how the rent is calculated. The landlord will have no right to increase the rent for a periodic business tenancy unless he has served at least six months’ notice under section 25 of the Landlord and Tenant Act to terminate the tenancy. Once this notice is served the tenant has the right to claim a new lease, and the court will fix the level of the rent at the open market rent if the parties cannot agree to it.

You will gather from my advice that you need to dig out the lease if you have one and get some advice from your solicitor.

Best wishes.

John

By John Chesworth on August 6th, 2012

Hi Greg

Sounds like a rather nasty surprise you have received. As you will have guessed, the lease is the starting point for the answer to your query. Does the lease have a provision that the service charge will be applied fairly and reasonably? If the landlord has to act fairly and reasonably, most surveyors would say that the proportion of properly chargeable costs that a tenant should pay will be dependent upon the benefit derived from the works, and also will be referable to the area the tenant occupies in proportion to the whole lettable area of the landlord’s estate. For example, if a shopping mall comprises 4 lettable units of 2500 sq ft. each unit should pay a ¼ of the service charge, even if 2 of the units were not tenanted at the time service charge was due to be paid.

The other thing that needs to be addressed is whether the works that the landlord has carried out are works which fall within the definition of the works for which the landlord can charge.

You will need some expert legal and surveying advice on this matter, but if the service charges are so high, this may be money well spent.

Kind regards

John

By Greg Poole on August 6th, 2012

Hi John,
Thanks for getting back to me.
Within the Service Charge Schedule it states:-
Total Sevice Cost : the aggregate of :-
the reasonable and proper total costs, fees, charges, expenses, disbursements and outgoings etc
Does the term ‘reasonable’ here mean the % payable based on the size of my unit or does it mean a fair amount they can charge in respect to their estimated service charge for the accounting period?
There is also a Miscellaneous Provisions part to the schedule, which states:-
In providing any of the services the landlord shall be entitled at its discretion to employ agents, contractors and such other persons as it may think fit,delegate its duties and powers to them and their fees and expenses including any value added tax payable shall form part of the Total Service Costs Provided That such fees and expenses do not exceed 10% of the Total Service Cost other than management fees and expenses.
Is this Miccellaneous Provisions part something that i can use in my favour?
One last point.. I inherited a small leak in the roof of our premises when i took over the lease in 2006. The landlord has sent contractors to fix the leak numerous times over the last 6 years but we still have a leak. Can i claim compensation from the landlord for this?
Regards
Greg

By John Chesworth on August 6th, 2012

Greg

I am afraid I cannot advise on the specifics of your lease on this forum as I will need to consider the whole document and also take some specific instructions from you. If you want to instruct me to do this, please e-mail me on john.chesworth@harrison-drury.com with a copy of the lease and I will give you a quote for the specific advice.

regards

John

By Lee Montague on August 14th, 2012

I have been in a commercial property since september 2011, I have no lease, and pay monthly which is up to date. I have been told I must leave the building. I have had one letter last week telling me this, and am expected to move by the 22nd of this month. the landlord will not meet with me and will not talk to me, I cannot understand why I must vacate?2weeks ago the landlord sent the police, telling them that I had broken in when I showed them my monthly rental receipt they left happy that I should be there! it has taken me 7 months to get the building ready ie repairs, paint, and rewiring because the old wiring was dangerous and 3 phase! I have been told that if I am not out by the 22nd all goods and chattels would be siezed, plaese inform me what rights if any that I have, PLEASE!!!

By Colin Farmer on August 16th, 2012

My brother (named above) rented some premises from which he ran a car valeting service. The downturn in the economy led to a downturn in his income and he has ceased trading. He NEVER signed a lease for the property and paid rent until the roof started leaking and he refused to pay the rent until the landlord fixed the leaking roof. The premises have now been relet to another business and the landlord has passed on a message via the owner of the new business that he intends to take my brother to court for the rent owed. Can he do this without a signed lease? I wonder if a court would view this as a verbal contract lease and find my brother liable to pay the rent that is in dispute. Any help you can give me would be most appreciated. I think the amount in dispute is about £1,200.

By John Chesworth on August 16th, 2012

Lee

If you are operating a business from the premises then you will have protection under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. In which case, the landlord can only terminate the tenancy by giving at least 6 months’ notice.

It sounds as though your landlord is acting unlawfully. I suggest you instruct a lawyer imeediately to protect your rights.

Best of luck.

John

By John Chesworth on August 16th, 2012

Colin

The courts will uphold verbal tenancy agreements. Also, in a commercial context, a landlord has no obligation to repair premises unless he has expressly agreed to do so.

Therefore, if your brother had a verbal contract to pay the rent and did not do so, then the fact that there was disrepair to the roof is unlikely to be a defence to a claim for the unpaid rent.

Regards

John

By Colin Farmer on August 17th, 2012

Thank you for your advice John. I will get my brother to speak to the landlord regarding payment of his rent arrears and see if he can avoid court action.

Thank you again.

By Elaine temblett on August 21st, 2012

Thanks for your reply John. I now have found that the gas meter has been removed and been capped from outside due to arrears of over £9,000 and other utilities also not paid. The shop (takeaway ) closed down July 4 and I have been told they have no intentions of re-opening. But as they know we want them out They still pay rent . Would non payment of utilities be same as non payment of rent. And how can I get proof the companies are owed. Can I ask the companies myself.

By Nigel on September 5th, 2012

Hi John, i need a bit of advice, i ran a company from a commercial unit and the land lord was the council. the lease was outside the tenants act, my company was a ltd company and it went into liquidation in december 2010. this company owed rent, i started a new ltd company that took over the assets of old company, this was all done legally by an independant company, my new company traded from the same unit and the landlord never asked us to leave or ask for the keys back, i asked them if they would rent the unit to new company and they agreed in principal and subject to contract, in feburary2012 i moved to new premises because the landlord never sorted out the new lease, i asked several times and even met them but still they never got round to drafting a new lease, so i made the desision to move on as the unit was very old and delapidated.For the last few months before leaving i stopped paying the rent, and they have now issued a court summons to claim the unpaid rent. My question is do i have to pay it? Are they legally able to claim it, i had no lease or draft lease setting out conditions, i paid some rent in the early months equal to an amount that my old company paid.

By Simon Smith on September 6th, 2012

Hi John, We are a tenant within a healthclub that has now been brought out by another company and we were asked to leave with 27 days notice because they were renovating the whole club. We were supposed to be given 3 months notice in our lease that had expired 6 months ago and we were not able to renew due to not having a point of contact with the owners. We have now moved out 7 days ago, because we had no choice, but they also pulled our belongings out a day earlier than expected it, that lost us a days worth of business. A colleague told me that we could claim 3 months of rent, because proper notice was not given, can you advise please

By John Chesworth on September 11th, 2012

Hi Elaine

It is often a requirement of the lease that the tenant pays for all outgoings and services in respect of the property which will include gas and electricity. If your lease has this provision and you have evidence of a failure to pay such as a demand from the supplier you could serve notice to terminate the lease.

This would not necessarily result in the lease being terminated if the tenant paid the arrears. However, if they did not you would have a good case to terminate the lease.

I suggest you get legal advice in order to take this further if you intend to serve notice.

Kind regards

John

By John Chesworth on September 11th, 2012

Nigel

While there was no written agreement between your new company and the council, the fact that there was a history of occupation by the new company with rent being paid means that a court would infer some form of contractual relationship for you to pay rent for your occupation.

Therefore, if this matter came before the courts, I strongly suspect your new company would be found liable to pay rent for the period it was in occupation of the property.

Kind regards

John

By John Chesworth on September 11th, 2012

Simon

It sounds to me that proper notice was not given. If your tenancy was protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (LTA) you should have received at least 6 months’ notice and you may have been able to seek a new tenancy at that point.

If you have loss of profits and also suffered costs from relocation, you may be able to claim these back. I strongly recommend that you take legal advice. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like us to advise on this potential claim tel:- 01772 258321.

Regards

John

By Mick Taylor on September 13th, 2012

Hi John

I leased a commercial building to a limited company just over 5 years ago on a 5 year insure and repair lease.

The company are refusing to hand back the building even though it is empty, refusing to do the repairs – roof leaking badly and an electric fuse box has been broken making it unsafe and refusing to pay the outstanding insurance. However they are paying the rent.

The bank have called in the commercial loan on the property so we have no option but to sell it as soon as possible. The only way we can hope to raise enough is to sell with vacant possession. The best time to get it on the market is now.

I have tried to negotiate with the directors. Unfortunately they steadfastly refuse to budge in any respect but do want me to accept the keys back.

Do you have any ideas what action I can or should be taking.

Thanks Mick

By daniel on October 10th, 2012

hi john im rentting a compound for 12months now & my landlord as changed 3 times this new landlord whants me out i all ways pay my rent on time he siad that i im running a waste transfer station from it but the environment have been out & they say ther is nothing wrong with whant im doing & the holy lease i have is with the ferst landlord & the second i dont have one from this landlord thnk you

By John Chesworth on October 15th, 2012

Mick

Apologies for the delay in responding to you. I had drafted a reply, but it got lost somewhere between my PC and the moderator.

As you want to get vacant possession of your property, you need to get the tenant’s agreement to vacate. You say that they want you to accept the keys back, this is often considered to be good evidence that the tenant has surrendered their lease. A surrender of a lease terminates the tenant’s ongoing responsibility to pay rent, however, unless the landlord has agreed otherwise, the tenant will still be responsible for past breaches of the lease, including historic failures to comply with the repairing obligations.

If you want to get vacant possession, then I suggest you accept the keys back from the tenant on the clear understanding that you are accepting their offer to terminate the lease. In doing this, you must understand from the date of surrender forward, the tenant will not be liable for any rent that falls due or insurance payable in respect of the premises.

I trust this answers your query.

Regards

John

By John Chesworth on October 15th, 2012

Daniel

It does not matter that you have no direct written lease from the current landlord, if you have been paying rent in return for exclusive occupation of a defined piece of property, you are likely to have a tenancy of the type protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

If that is the case your landlord can only evict you if they satisfy certain statutory criteria. I strongly recommend you take legal advice as it sounds as though you may well have a right to prevent the landlord evicting you as he has threatened.

Best wishes

John

By Claire on October 18th, 2012

I’ve been trading in a shop, where the lease expired in March 2012. I ceased trading in October 2012, due to the economic downturn, mainly. After many emails between myself and the letting agents, a new lease was never issued. Over the course of our last 8 months, 4 month’s rent was not paid. I understand i have a “moral” obligation to pay, but where do i stand “legally”?. Please advise

By daniel on October 19th, 2012

hi john thanks for getting back to me if i move in december the land lord owse me £1600 bond which i think is going to be hard to get back from them as the the property has changed hands 3 times in 1year can i stop paying my rent from november & december and tell the landlord to take the rent from the bond as two months rent would come to £1400 it is honly a compound that i rent so there is no damage to it if any thing its better now than when i moved in iv put 200tons of hardcore down as it was a mud bath when i first move in thanks daniel

By Harry on October 21st, 2012

My question is this:
Can a landlord send bailifs to a commercial unit which is no longer in arrears asking for the rent of second unit which is in arrears?

considering it is 2 differents leases, but in the same building with the same landlord.

By John Chesworth on October 22nd, 2012

Hi Claire

If you remained in the property after the term of the lease expired you still had an obligation to pay the rent. Therefore, legally you are still liable to pay the rental payments that were missed.

Also, if your lease was protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act), it carries on after the termination date until the landlord terminates the statutory continuation by serving notice. If you as the tenant want to end this statutory continuation, you have to give the landlord notice under section 27 of the Act. Therefore, you could still be liable for future rent if the Act applies and you have not given the appropriate notice.

Probably not the news you wanted to hear.

Kind regards

John

By John Chesworth on October 22nd, 2012

Daniel

In most situations where a rent deposit or bond is paid over, the tenant has to pay the rent up until the end of the term, and then ask for their deposit back when they vacate. However, I cannot comment on the terms of your lease as I have not seen it.

If you do as you propose, and the outstanding rent is covered by the deposit, the remedy for your landlord will be to pursue you for disrepair to the property. If you have not breached the repairing obligations in your lease, then the landlord will not have a commercially viable remedy against you.

Kind regards

John

By John Chesworth on October 22nd, 2012

Hi Harry

It sounds like the landlord has instructed bailiffs to carry out distress for rent. If this is the case then they should only attend the premises where the rent is in arrear.

Kind regards

John

By Harry on October 22nd, 2012

Thanks John

I am leasing 2 commercial units, ( both trading as sandwich bars) during the last year and up till now I have found myself in difficulty in paying rent on time for both of them, so constantly late, I decided to clear the arrears for one them( the one I could afford) and concentrate on focusing in paying the arrears for the other, since the landlord has used distress for all neighbouring business within the same building, I decided to close down one and concentrate on the one which is surviving, but I read somewhere that a landlord can use distress on another tenant’s unit which is not in arrears to claim arrears for the one which is. Is this correct? And thank you very much for being so prompt and professional .

By Dave Southwell on October 23rd, 2012

Hi John,

We have just had a visit from a bailiff to our premises demanding payment for rent which we thought we had already paid.

The premises were unattended as we don’t work on Tuesdays, however the Bailiff contacted me by phone asking me to make a card payment over the phone.

I declined as I never make payments to any unsolicited callers and said I would check with the landlord as I was sure it had been paid. We pay quarterly and on the odd occassions we have been late in the past 8 years the landlord has always contacted us by phone or email and we have paid on receipt of the reminder.

I contacted the landlord and asked them to confirm that they had not received payment and they said they hadn’t.

On checking it seems we hadn’t but we have done so now. It would appear we set up the payment but never executed the transfer of funds.

I asked why we weren’t sent a reminder or given a phone call and no-one at the landlords office could explain or tell me who had authorised the bailiffs even though they were aware they had been sent.

Can the landlord just send a bailiff round if they have not given notice, especially when the landlord has always sent a reminder/calle/emailed in the past?

The bailiff said we have to pay him directly for the rent and £290 for the visit. Do we?

Many thanks in andvance for any help/advice you can give.

By James Robbins on October 31st, 2012

Hi Harry

Further to John’s response, the landlord can only seize goods on the premises demised by the lease for which rent arrears have accrued, unless there is an express agreement in the lease to the effect that the landlord may distrain for his rent on other property. However, if the landlord has reason to believe that you have fraudulently removed goods from the premises to protect them from bailiffs, the landlord (through the bailiff) may enter the premises where those goods are stored in order to recover them, provided that they have not been previously sold bonâ fide to a person ignorant of the fraud.

Kind regards

James

By Elaine temblett on November 1st, 2012

Dear John

By Elaine temblett on November 1st, 2012
I have served a. s146 Notice.sept 13 and acknowledged 14 sept by the tenants solicitor. The lease has since been forfeited and locks were changed 25th October But due to lack of communication from the tenants. This has now left us with the problem of what to do and how to get rid of the equipment of a takeaway shop and being able to re-let. I have a new tenant waiting but for a different trade altogether ..hope you can guide me. Elaine.

By James Robbins on November 2nd, 2012

Hi Dave

Unless there is provision in the lease to the contrary, the landlord was entitled to instruct a bailiff to recover the rent arrears, notwithstanding that he has notified you of arrears in the past. The bailiff is correct that he should be paid directly for the arrears and also his fees. The basis for calculating bailiffs’ fees is set out in Appendix 1 of The Distress for Rent Rules 1988, so you may wish to check this. If the bailiff has charged in excess of what he was entitled to, the landlord will be liable to you for the difference.

Kind regards

James Robbins

By john on November 14th, 2012

i am an indapendant tattoo artist who works for him self working out of different studios one of the shops i work out of have been seized by bailifs for non payment of rnt and has been looked up with my own equiptment in it so my question is can the landlord take my property even though i have no ties to this shop as i have no idea on what ao where to go with this problem and need my equiptment to carry on with my other comitments

By cath on November 14th, 2012

Hi John,

We are a small business in the creative industries. We signed a lease back in 2001, that expired about 5 years ago. We have continued to pay our rent happily, also agreed to a rent hike this year.

Today, some surveyors came in to study our building. Apparently a new massive building is going to be built behind our little office, that they say will cause disruption/noise for 4months. They suggested we de-camp and all work remotely from home. A letter was apparently sent to us last year asking if we consented to the build which we never saw. THe build is due to commence in January.

So my question is (I hope this isn’t annoyingly silly for you)
Our Rights: are we actually ‘sitting tennants’ now and does that afford us any rights? Or are we in a dreadful situation having never re-signed our lease five years ago.

The Build: And is there anything we can do about this if the noise is very bad and we are all forced to vacate for 4months plus? We do love our office and would prefer not to move – but are extremely anxious about the noise. And also unsure if we are able to ask for rent reduction, or noise proofing or…?

Many thanks for any advice you might be able to give us
Thanks
Cath

By Ken Sharp on November 14th, 2012

I have occupied a first floor office on a casual serviced basis for almost two years as a sub tenant to the main tenant. The property was recently purchased by a developer who wishes to convert the premises to residential flats. I was given two months notice verbally to vacate by 30th November. I have been advised that I am protected by the Landlord and Tenant act 1954 and as I cannot find alternative offices have written to my landlord (the main tenant) and told him I am not prepared to vacate. Do I have protected rights and what recourse do I have if the new landlord prevents me accessing my office on 1st December?

By June on November 15th, 2012

My husband has rented business premises for 20 years. There was no lease and rent has been paid on a monthly basis. The Landlord has decided that he would now like us to have a lease but the main problem is that he wants it contracted out of the Landlord & Tenants Act 1954, and is not prepare to negotiate this. Either we agree or he will give one month’s notice. Do we have any rights after all this time?

By James Robbins on November 20th, 2012

Hi John

The landlord was entitled to seize your equipment, but must return this to you upon receipt of a notice pursuant to section 1 of the Law of Distress Amendment Act 1908, unless the landlord has reason to dispute your claim to the equipment. You should also ask the tenant to notify the landlord that the equipment belongs to you, as they could be liable for your losses if they fail to do this. The landlord was entitled to sell the equipment after 5 days of seizing it, so you should ensure that the above steps are taken as soon as possible. We can of course assist in this regard if required.

Regards

James

By James Robbins on November 20th, 2012

Hi Cath

Following the expiry of the lease, it is likely that you will have continued to occupy the premises under a periodic tenancy, though this will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. If there is a periodic tenancy, however, you would benefit from security of tenure under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954. In the event that the landlord wished to terminate the lease, they would have to do so using the procedure prescribed by this Act, which would involve the landlord giving you at least 6 months’ (but not more than 12 months) notice of his intention to terminate the tenancy and you being offered a new lease, unless the landlord could prove one of the statutory grounds of opposition. These grounds include a landlord’s intention to occupy the premises for its own purposes or to demolish or reconstruct the premises, but in this case it does not appear that these apply the area occupied by you.

It appears from your question that the landlord owns the area on which the new building will be built. If this is the case and you continue to occupy the premises, it is possible, providing that you don’t consent to the works, that they will amount to a breach of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment (even if the letter was in fact sent, your consent could not be implied from not having responded to it), in which case you could be entitled to damages or to take steps to prevent the works taking place. However, the actual terms of the periodic tenancy, and therefore the extent of the landlord’s rights to carry out the works, will depend on the terms of the expired lease and what can be implied from conduct since that time.

A rent reduction or the installation of noise proofing would have to be negotiated with the landlord, but in light of the above, there may well be scope to do this.

Regards

James

By Iain on December 31st, 2012

Hi, I am a landlord of a commercial property. The property has 15 years remaining on the lease. There is a break in 10 years. The tenant contacted me and said they would like to surrender the lease early, and make me an offer, which they are due to do soon. How do I work out what is reasonable? In accepting any offer I am forgoing 10 years worth of future rent. If I work out the present value of that amount I get a figure which is reasonable to me but I doubt the tenant will offer that much. Is there a standard method for working out a fair value?

By Adam Thompson on January 5th, 2013

Hi john

I am currently in a tennancy with a brewery for a pub which i have given my 6 month notice to end my tennancy. If the landlord sends bailiffs to collect fixtures and fittings for rent arrears and leaves me without the means to carry on trading which forces me to close can they still charge me rent untill my tennancy in my pub is over in 6 months time?
I also have another venue with the same brewery which I wish to keep. Can the brewery force me to close 1 venue but keep me paying rent for it because I have another profitable venue with them.
I run each pub as a sole trader but under seperate company names.

Regards Adam Thompson

By Russell Neil on January 12th, 2013

Hi John,
I am in a similar position to Adam above. I have 5 pubs with the same landlord, 2 x 10 year leases, 2 x 5 year tenancies and 1 x tenancy at will. I have offered to surrender 3 of the premises in order to clear arrears of rent and trade in October last year I have written and verbal agreement to do such. I have already surrendered 2 units previously and have not received back £15k owed either in the form of cash or credits to the other venues from these 2 surrenders, 6 weeks later. All venues are run in separate limited companies however the landlord treats them all as one (they have common directors) when one is in credit or no debt, they will refuse to serve that limited company on the basis that the other owes money. However today they have sent in bailiffs for debts of £17k on two of the trading companies, when they still owe credit of £15k on the vacated premises, as I have refused to pay them rent as they previously have treated all as one my logic is I can therefore do the same. You advise would be much appreciated.

By Leanne on January 24th, 2013

Our landlord has called in the bailiff for non payment of rent and they have taken all stock, work in progress, machinery, vehicle etc. They have completely stripped us bare. We are left without any means of generating an income but he is insistent that we are still liable for the lease and rent on his empty shop. The only form of income we now have is benefit payments. What can he do next? Can he come and strip our home bare too? We firmly beleive that he has not been cooperative. We have only been in the shop for one year and we have been asking him to reduce the rent due to footfall being non-existent. He has refused to negotiate despite us paying him £8000 of the £10000 due for last year. We have also been affected by the ‘Goings on’ of his tenant in the flat above. There has been unsavoury characters on the car park, police presence etc. It has not been good for business. Is there any way we could make this lease void and if so how could we apply to do so and most importantly would we be eligible for legal aid. We have been bullied and intimidated. It is highly unlikely that the shop could be relet as I dont think anyone would be as stupid as us! The shop is in an affluent area but out of town and the buildings (Which he also owns) around it are derelict. Please help!

By Fiona on January 25th, 2013

Hi
I have recently taken over a council contract within council premises(last June). This was done as part of a tender process which I won. As the business was a going concern I moved in and had a 6 week transitional process. When the time came for the council to withdraw the lease had still not been completed by their legal team. I was assured this was ok and was not incurring any costs so carried on.
When the lease was presented many parts did not relate to the original heads of terms presented during the tender process. I have had several meetings and discussions but to date still have no lease in place. Today I received an updated lease which added an additional £13000 worth of costs per year with no detailed schedule. When I queried this the legal department said it was for costs incurred so far. My question is can I be held accountable for costs never agreed and also disputed at first draft lease and at several meetings and email discussions since? I was under the impressions that terms when agreed would be applied from commencement of the lease? Any advice would be greatly received.
Kind regards

Fiona

By SAM on January 25th, 2013

Hi, This is a interesting one…
My Business partner and I purchases a residential property to rent out.. The property was registered in his name and has been rented out since bought..I am in the process of buying the house from him so that I have security on my investment.. We currently have a commercial lease leasing it to a company that provide accommodation. They have not paid rent for 4 months so I want to evict them..

Now the interesting part.. The property is in my business partners name and I am the person, classed as the landlord on the agreement.

There is a forfeture clause allowing me to take possession back if no rent is paid for 14 days from 28th month, can I apply this and request they move out…

Or am I best waiting till the sale of the house to me goes through to call the forfeiture in and claim for loss of rent along with removal of tenancy?

Thanks in advance

By Murray on January 26th, 2013

Hi

A friend of mine has rented a shop for 19 years. The shop has always been in a poor state of repair. A new lease was signed 6 years ago with a new landlord. My friend is now giving up the business and the landlord has given him a delapitation report which amounts to around £20000. He is being asked to repair things that well predate the new lease.

Advice would be very much appreciated.. Where does he stand?

By Jeremy on January 31st, 2013

Hi, my niece is looking to take over the lease of a beauty salon and the landlord (a company) is insisting that the lease be in the name of someone with a mortgage on a property (which she doesn’t have she rents a flat). My mother was thinking of putting it in her name but is there any danger in her doing so? Does a landlord normally ask this, is there an alternative?

By Michelle on February 1st, 2013

Hi,

We are in the process of entering a new lease for a commercial premises for use as a letting agent. We have recently received the draft lease from the landlord’s solicitor and it states that the premises can be used for A1 retail premises. However, I believe our industry falls under A2 use as professional services – I’ve highlighted this to the landlord’s solicitor in previous correspondance. I’m unsure whether it will make any difference in practice whether we would be allowed to use the premises for A2 purpose despite the lease stating A1 as they are both permitted use? Please advise whether I should be asking the solicitor to alter the lease to state A2 use or whether it wouldn’t make a difference if I wouldn’t be breaching the lease if I use for A2 purpose anyway? Many thanks.

By Ian on February 1st, 2013

Hi, I am a landlord of a commercial property. The property has 15 years remaining on the lease. There is a break in 10 years. The tenant contacted me and said they would like to surrender the lease early, and make me an offer, which they are due to do soon. How do I work out what is reasonable? In accepting any offer I am forgoing 10 years worth of future rent. If I work out the present value of that amount I get a figure which is reasonable to me but I doubt the tenant will offer that much. Is there a standard method for working out a fair value?

By Sarah Connor on February 3rd, 2013

Hello John

I have a commercial property which was taken over on a three year lease in 2010. It is being used for the purposes of the repair and spraying of vehicles. The tenant had to leave to work overseas, but contacted me to ask if it would be ok to transfer the lease to a new tenant, who he vouched for. I said I would be happy to do this and a new tenant signed the lease (in his personal name – not that of his company) for a further three years. He has paid his rent promptly until January 2013. However the rent did not go in for February and I was unable to contact him by phone, so we went to the property and found someone working in there we did not know. This person was an employee taken on by my tenant early in 2011 and he said that he had been paying the rent himself to my bank account since June 2011! He said that my tenant had decided he ‘wanted out’, and that he (as an employee of his), wanted to take on the business, and was sorting out his employee’s debts and paying the rent due in the hope he could keep the business going (and it had been doing ok). However, he said that January had been a quiet month and that he had told his former employee to let me know that the rent would be a few days late as he did not know how to contact me! He assured me that he wanted to take on the lease and was trying to raise the capital to purchase the business from his former employee. In the meantime, I received a text in response to my text from the actual tenant, saying the rent would be paid in a day or so and sorry for any inconvenience, not mentioning anything about subletting or having someone in the premises who is now paying my rent. Sorry – it all sounds a bit confusing – I hope you can get the gist. I do not have a problem with my original tenant allowing a sublet, so long as they pay the rent. However, it seems there may be problems with this as there have been this month and I don’t have a great deal of confidence in the current arrangement, especially as I haven’t been informed about it. My questions are: as the tenant signed the lease in his own name, rather than that of his company – do I have legal redress against him personally (his company has a notice to strike off at Companies House?) Is he in breach of his agreement having effectively sublet since July without telling me? If I decide to recover the property, what happens to the equipment they have installed? I think it might be worth money? I would appreciate any advice you can offer. Many thanks,

By Rachel Blair on February 4th, 2013

Hi,

We have a commercial lease which we took for 12 months, which expired in November we are still in the premises and paying rent, we would like to give notice, what would the current notice be as I can’t find this in the original agreement?

Many thanks

By MM on February 5th, 2013

Need a bit of advice on behalf of a friend.
He unfortunately only has what would appear to be a ‘heads of terms’ letter as a contract but has used the words ‘this letter is to form a contract…’ and specific dates/rental term (3 years)
The letter is signed by both parties.
It does not mention the L&T A 1954 or any exclusion nor does it have any reference to forfeiture on grounds of non-payment.
It does however state that the tenant may terminate the agreement on notice of 3 months.
I’d like to think that maybe, if he’s lucky, this could be deemed a Tenancy at Will but have the fear that due to occupancy being over 12 months, that he will have to serve a s25 and wait.
Either that or informally offer the tenant a 3 month notice period to reflect that permitted to the tenant…
Any advice appreciated – cheers!

By Muhammed on February 7th, 2013

Hi John,
Our land lord want to refurbish flats above our shop and develop new entrance, doing so he is planning to close three windows and one door of the shop (lease). He has received council permission to construct new entrance and refurbish the flats. what is our right to keep windows and doors open.

Thanks

By Nicholas on February 11th, 2013

Hello,

I have a problem with my landlord regarding payment of the rent cesser per my lease, I have refused to pay the full rent and have asked that we meet to come to a settlement the building has been unusable in part for 8 months due to flooding and the landlords insurers have yet to agree to the restoration under the terms of the lease. I am owed £14,700 which is actually a concession of £3,500 on my side as to appear reasonable and wish to come to an agreement. they are saying this has nothing to do with the rent and have said if it is not paid by Friday they will instruct the bailiffs. I believe they need to follow forfeiture? will the bailiff need to get an order from the court or will they just turn up?

By Louise on February 13th, 2013

Hi John,
In a bit of a pickle. I have been a commercial tenant (with living) since 1999. I never signed a contract with the landlord and have now handed in my notice to quit as over the last 3 years the property has been falling in around my ears, is full of damp and has made me ill.
I tried to get a contract drawn up but the estate agent came round with his version which said I was liable for everything and was to pay for everything myself. When I wouldn’t sign it (on solicitors advice) he got aggressive and threatening.
I am now pregnant and do not wish to be bullied constantly and picked on my the landlord and estate agent. I have handed in my notice but he is now telling me that I am to remove no fixtures or fittings else he will have me done or I will have to pay for them. The building came unfurnished and I have bought and paid for everything in there ie. the bath, all my store furniture, the whole kitchen etc.
He’s quoting the Landlord and Tenancy agreement to me saying he has the right to everything.

I am so stressed now as he’s already told me I owe them £2000 in rent and I’m quite worried as he’s quite an aggressive sort who uses bullying tactics.

Hope you can help, appreciate any help you can give me.

By Mahesh on February 13th, 2013

Hello,
I signed up for a 16 years commercial least on August 2011 with rent reviews every 5 years and paid 20000 to landlord as premium and now due to the downturn and competiton in off license I am not doing well as expected and I have asked my landlord the option to surrender the lease he asked me to find a new teanant so that I can be realeased. I am trying to find people but no one wants to come in even i said there is no premium. I explained the circumstances to my landlord and he says its not his concern as I am in lease.
I always pay his rent and now a days sometime its getting delayed he calls me every day and says he will send balif and lock up the premises and take me to court. He already hold my 3 months deposit and he is not helping me. rent is due every month 1st and I dont have any monies to pay for it as business is already suffering huge losses from last 12 months I lost about 25,000 as per my accountant. I want to sell it and come out legally but I dont know what to do now, can I take him to court and explain I tried so many meeting and he said its not his problem as I am not doing well and I explained him if I make any money I will pay the rent first to him.

so please help me waht should I do its very urgent isse.

thanks
Mahesh

By Alan Hammersley on February 14th, 2013

Good Afternoon John,May I please ask a question.Is there a time limit to issuing a Section 25 notice after a lease has ended? Best Regards, Alan Hammersley

By Alan Hammersley on February 14th, 2013

Hi, Sorry I should have mention that it is a Commercial Lease. Thank you, Regards, Alan Hammersley

By Paul on February 16th, 2013

Hi John – Love this website very usefull.

Myself and my wife run a café; we have a Licence to occupy 3 rooms and a kitchen within a building that also rents space to antique dealers.

The Landlord rents the whole building to the guy that owns the Antiques Business (He has only recently taken the lease over himself). We have a licence to occupy for the café and we have been tenants for 18 month with the lease running to 30/12/2013 with a three month notice period from both parties.

When we took the Business over 18 months ago we had no customers and we have now built up a trade of regular customers and healthy profit.

The Landlord is constantly making comments to our staff about how badly we run the Business and how he would do a much better job, he tells them what need cleaning when it quiet . and interferes with the way that the staff generally operates.

He has now told our Manager he is going to give us notice at the end of Feb despite us asking him not to discuss high level issues with the staff but directly with us. He has said he is going to down size and run the café himself and that he does not have to take any of our staff on.
Due to the issues, we have had the café on the market had do have a couple of interested parties.

Can the landlord stop us from selling?

What about the staff, surely TUPE applies?

Can he just take over our Business that we have put so much effort into building up?

Can we take him to court to stop the notice?

If we stay what happens at the end of the lease?

Thanks

By kim on February 18th, 2013

hi

i was in rent arrears and one day the landlord changed the locks on the property so i was unable to get back in. after speaking with the landlord he then allowed me to enter the shop for a short period of time to try and trade again however i was unable to make enough money to keep the business running so i gave the keys back. am i correct in thinking that the lease was forfited the moment the landlord changed the locks origionally or did that lease come back in to play when i went back in to the property?
thank you

By Sarah on February 19th, 2013

Hi
I was wondering if you could advice please. I signed for a new business premises with a term break at 2 years. However, since I moved into the premises I was told it used to be a drugs den and when I researched cannabis found indeed that it had been as a cannabis farm to the two lower floors with over £400,000 worth of the drugs ceased by the police. This is having a detrimental effect on my business as I have had people come in and ask for things clearling thinking it is back in business, I have had one man ranting outside about redemption and I feel unsafe being a lone female worker, so was wanting to end the lease to move to other premises can I do this as the landlord failed to disclose this information informing me when I asked that it had been a business previous only for 5 years which it was but there was this there als. Thanking you.

By anna on March 1st, 2013

Hi
i was hoping to takeover the lease of a commercial premises from the existing tenant. there is 7.5 years reamining. i am dealing directly with the tenant as there is no agent. i have now decided that i would prefer a brand new lease. THe tenant tells me the landlordis in happy with this, along the same terms as the existing leae. i.e 10yearsetc. I would like some changes, and a shorter lease. This being my first commercail lease, do i contact the landlorddirect and find out my options first, rather than ask my solicitor to do this. I just want ot ask if they would consider a shorter lease at this time. thank you in advance for any help

By Katie Kozlowska on March 4th, 2013

Dear June

Where a landlord and tenant relationship exists and rent is paid by reference to a particular time period, a periodic tenancy can be inferred, even where there is no written lease. Periodic tenancies benefit from the ‘security of tenure’ provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (‘the Act’) meaning that the tenancy continues until terminated in accordance with the Act.

The landlord and tenant are free to agree the terms of any new lease however a tenant should be aware that under the terms of the Act, it is entitled to a new lease on no more onerous terms, save for changes in law. If a tenant has previously enjoyed security of tenure, it is not obliged to accept an ‘excluded lease’ i.e. a lease that does not enjoy the secure of tenure of the Act.

As referred to above, if a landlord wishes to terminate a lease it must comply with the Act. The first thing to note is that a landlord must give between 6 and 12 months written notice of his intention to terminate the lease. The notice must be in the form prescribed by section 25 of the Act. One months notice would not suffice.

If a landlord seeks to terminate the lease and not grant a new tenancy, it can only terminate the lease if it can prove one of the limited grounds listed in section 30 of the Act. The simple fact you cannot not agree to certain terms of the lease is not a valid ground for termination. If the parties are unable to agree either that a new lease is to be granted or the terms of the new lease, a tenant can apply to court for the court and ask for the court to determine the terms, if a lease is to be granted.

It is also worth noting that a tenant that who is not granted a new tenancy may be entitled to compensation under the Act

The Act does provide significant legal protection for tenants of commercial premises and to ensure that your rights are not lost I would recommend that you seek further legal advice.

Kind regards

Katie

By SAM on March 7th, 2013

Hi,

Urgent help please,
I took a 10yrs management contract from my landlord back in 2011 to run his launderette. the contract paper work is only 3 page sheet. on it it says i have to pay him £20,000.00 for and pay ome month rent and i month advance. and then pay my monthry rent of £700.00.on the contract it say i the tenant do not have any right to urter or change any machine there unless he the landlord. give permision.it also said if i fail to pay my rent he will end my contract.at that time i do not know anything about launderette but becuse he aproch me while i was there doing my laundry and said that he is going abroad on holiday so wanted someone to manage it for him.ok i paid all the monies and we sign the contract just me and him. and i have been paying my rent and my bills untill the health and safety from local authority visited my premises and serve for improvment of the place . soo i told him and he promisd to look into it but becuse we have a time limit on the latter they send he ask me to find someone to check the place
which i did and when the engeenir came down he said that the boiler is very old and dengerous and that the flu pipe is leeking that i could be inhearing cabom monoside or something like that. that he need to shut the place down which he did and call the national grid to shurt the gas down.
i got in contact with my landlord now on the phone. he send his engennir down to the place . he looked at everything and told him is oing to cost £15.000. to do becuse the boiler need to be changed to bring it up to the standard of the regulation. and to issue gas safety certificate. he ask to give the man some advance to start the job about 7k but th man refuse and said he want to see that he can get all the monies if he finish the job which he said ok he will get back to him. since then its been lies anytime i contact him he tol me he will back in a week or two.at a point we agree over the phone that if i can get the monies and do it that i should deduct it from rent.mind you i have only been there for 3months before this start.but by then i have got a solicitor involve who have been writing to him also we check the property on land registry is not on his name and where he told me he reside he did not reside there but he have a wife and children here so all the latter writeen to him none was responded also the rent he/his wife comes in person to colect cash. even the lump some of 20k i paid him was in cash he refused to give any bank detiails . i know am stupid. so the shop was close for almost 5months before we had the agreement over the phone to do it and deduct it from the rent .but i should send him the quotation that i have got which i did so after i got a loan from the bank and do it and business open again then he re appear then write/ talk to
him to put our agreement on writing then he refused instead start to demand for rent. now i came down in the morning to open my shop it turn out that he have change the lock before that he wrote to me via a solicitor that i am owing him rent therefore wishes to terminate my contract that i should hand him the key back by end of ferb.and my solicitor reply to his lawyer also ask thm to come for a meeting but they did not reply. and now my solicitor is on holiday and i have personal and costomers property in the shop

any help and advice please
Thanks A lot

By Katie Kozlowska on March 7th, 2013

Dear Sarah

The principle ‘buyer beware’ applies to a tenant taking a lease in the same way that it does to a purchaser buying a property. This means that a tenant takes a property ‘warts and all’ and it is up to the tenant to satisfy himself that it is suitable for the use he intends, prior to completing the transaction.

A good solicitor will carry out research that will reveal many things about a property to help you make an informed decision about whether or not the property is right for you. This will include raising enquiries of the Landlord, such as that which you mention in your post. If the replies to these enquiries are false or misleading then you may have a claim against your Landlord, however, I would need further information to advise you definitively on this.

Please call me on 01772 258321 if you would like to discuss this further.

Kind regards

Katie

By Katie Kozlowska on March 7th, 2013

Dear Kim

Thank you for your post.

You are correct – once a Landlord exercises his right to forfeit by re-entering the property, the lease is terminated from that point.

However, depending on the circumstances, your subsequent occupation of the property may have created a new tenancy, even if this was not formally documented. This being the case, there will be certain obligations which you have to adhere to in order to end the tenancy.

If you require further information, please call me on 01772 258321, and I will be happy to assist.

Kind regards

Katie

By Roger Liston on March 8th, 2013

Hi,

I run a small business and in 2008 we signed a lease to occupy a small serviced office in a building which contains a number of other businesses. The lease could be terminated by giving 3 months notice. At the outset we paid one month’s rent as a deposit.
In January 2010 I gave notice to quit. However the landlord offered to reduce our rent by 50% if we stayed. So we stayed. No new lease or contract was ever signed, however we have been paying the reduced rent one month in advance ever since.
Last year the landlord’s company (with whom we had the orginal agreement) went into administration. We continued to pay our rent to the official administrator.
Now the office building has been sold to a new landlord. Today the new landlord told me he wants to increase the rent to the original amount on the 2008 contract.
I said we are not able to pay this and would await his written notice to terminate the lease.
He replied that “there is no lease” as it was agreed with a company that no longer exists. He said “I want you out of here by the end of the month” (23 days time).
I said, “We paid one month’s rent as a deposit”, he replied “You didn’t pay me, you paid the old landlord, so you won’t be getting that back”.

Moving out is not the end of the world, but I’m dismayed about losing my deposit of £700.00 – do you have any advice?

PS. congratulations of this fantastic website :-)

By kim on March 11th, 2013

Hi Kate

Thank you for getting back to me. I do not have any thing documented or anything to state how i could get out of the new tenancy.
The landlord his self is not chasing me for rent however i am being charged business rates and the landlord is informing the council i am still liable for the property and he is infact chasing me for rent, he refers to the origional lease when he speaks to the council and has stated to them i am liable for the property until 2018 when this lease expires, even though this lease would have been forfeited when he origionally changed the locks.
The property is currently up for let by the landlord and i do not have access to the property any longer. the landlord will not speak with me and the only ways i can find online to get out of a tenancy is to buy my self out of the tenancy- come to an agreement with the landlord or find a sub-tenant, however i am unable to do any of these and my origional lease stated i cannot sublet plus i do not have access to the property to allow anyone enterance.
i just need to be able to prove to the council that i am not liable for the property and i have no idea where to go from here.

Please help

Thank you

By Ian on March 11th, 2013

I am a landlord of a commercial property. The property has 15 years remaining on the lease. There is a break in 10 years. The tenant contacted me and said they would like to surrender the lease early, and make me an offer, which they are due to do soon. How do I work out what is reasonable? In accepting any offer I am forgoing 10 years worth of future rent. If I work out the present value of that amount I get a figure which is reasonable to me but I doubt the tenant will offer that much. Is there a standard method for working out a fair value?

By Jonathan Goldsmith on March 15th, 2013

I have just under 2 years left of a 5 year shop lease under the L&T Act. Another unit has become available and I am told the new leases given out are only for 3 years then they revert to a 6 monthly development lease. The Landlord is also the Local Authority. When my lease comes up for renewal I understand I can get twice RV (I have been there for 14 years already)..+ cost of the improvements I have made to the property ( electronic grills, new ceilings lighting etc etc). When would I get this compensation? When they change the lease from a 5yr to a 6 month or when I am finally evicted? This is a wholesale/retail menswear business and 6 months is not enough time to clear stock so other losses are more than likely.

By john on March 20th, 2013

i have a hairdressers on a full repair lease, we are out of contract by 6 months, we are re negotiating a new contract but at this time the building next to us there was a fire in the flat and then hit by lightning bolt, our building has moved and the landlord wants us to make a full repair to the external wall what can we do are we
liable for this? our new contract we are trying to remove the full repair due to the age of building regards john

By Jacki on April 18th, 2013

hi John,

i my commercial lease came to an end, as the business was not doing very well, i decided to end the lease by serving the six months notice. the notice has come to an end and i am faced with thousands of pounds on dilapidation. i have since changed my mind and wish to renew the lease. what are my chances of getting back the lease?

thank you
Jacki

By Adrian Campbell on April 27th, 2013

I own a small business on an industrial estate adjacent to a small village. Along with 20 or so others (some tenants, some owners, one a big charity, one the village Community Centre) our electricity has been metered by, charged by and paid to the estate owner.

The owner has now gone bust and it turns out has not paid the electricity invoices sent to him for 2 years. The electricity company now says we must pay them (ie pay again) because they claim that their contract with the site owner had lapsed 18 months ago.

2 problems; the first is just the prospect of having to pay again but the second is that the electricity supply company says we users are “jointly and severally liable”. It may be in the capability and interests of the bigger users with big legal resources to make us small fish pay far more than we have already paid.

One of those bigger users did take the initiative to negotiate future supplies on behalf of all of us but they were unable to agree a deal with the original supplier who insisted that the original debt be paid first. A different supplier has now been contracted.

Are we stuffed?

By Dee on April 30th, 2013

I have been in my comerical premises for 17 months. Today I received a letter from my landlord requesting a cheque for the full sum of the Commercial Property Insurance. I have never been asked to pay this before today’s date and I do pay an annual Business insurance which was required when I signed the lease.
Do I have an obligation to pay this and if so why is it not in my lease?

By Freddy Stone on May 17th, 2013

Dear Katie Kozlowska,
I lease out a small retail shop to a tenant (of eight years, with five more to go) on a FR&I lease. At the rear of the demise and part of it,is a roofed single story courtyard with 3 story buildings on three sides of it. The wooden lintel supporting the gable end wall (just below the level of the roof of the courtyard and below the rainwater gutter0 of one of the abutting buildings (owned by a litigations solicitor wouldn’t you know) has rotted and needs to be replaced ASAP. It has been suggested that the tenant (despite the FR lease) is not responsible for the repair/replacement because the rainwater flowing onto that roof comes off the roofs of the three surrounding buildings. The guttering beneath the courtyard roof is not adequate to cope with the current level of rainfall. It would seem to me that in view of the FRI it is in any case the tenant’s responsibility to repair and then the charge the surrounding neighbours a contribution?.
With anxious and perplexed thanks
Freddy Stone

By Ashley on May 28th, 2013

I rented an office with a business partner, the office did not turn out for us and so we handed in our notice after only 3 months, losing our months deposit and having to give 6 weeks notice.
I paid off my half of the share but my business is refusing to pay his. We are jointly responsible for the rent and the landlord is about to instruct solicitors if my other partner does not pay. My business partner is happy to go to court regards his 50%, but how can this be done without myself being drawn in. If he were to lose would I be liable to pay 50% of the costs?

Really stressed about this, can anyone help?

By Katie Kozlowska on May 29th, 2013

Jacki

Thank you for your query.

I assume you are referring to notice served under s 27 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954? If this is correct, I’m afraid that once such a notice has been served on a landlord it cannot be unilaterally withdrawn. Your tenancy will therefore come to an end at the expiry of the term/the date specified in the notice, whichever is applicable in this case.

If you wish to remain in the property, you will need to speak to your landlord and try and negotiate a new lease. If your landlord is agreeable to this, we would be happy to check the terms of the new lease before you tie yourself in.

Please get in touch if you need further assistance.

Kind regards

Katie

By Katie Kozlowska on May 29th, 2013

John

If you have rented the whole of a building, as opposed to part of it, then the term ‘full repairing lease’ indicates that you have full responsibility for the repair of the whole property, together with responsibility for the costs of such repairs.

On the other hand, if you have a lease of part of a larger property, a full repairing clause would usually exclude responsibility for repairs to the structure, exterior and common parts of the property.

Additionally, if the damage was caused by an insured risk, then your repairing obligation will not normally extend to this.

That said, I would need to see the precise wording of your lease to advise on the extent of your particular obligation.

A commercial property solicitor would be able to review your lease and provide you with more specific advice, and we would be happy to assist in this respect, if you so wish.

Kind regards

Katie

By Katie Kozlowska on May 29th, 2013

Dee

The most common position with regard to insurance of commercial property is that the Landlord insures the building and then recovers the cost of the insurance form the tenant. However, if this is what your landlord wants to do, then this should be specified in your lease. If it is not mentioned in your lease, and you have not otherwise agreed to pay for the insurance, then you are not obliged to do so.

That said, as you have an interest in the property it is unlikely you would want to be in a position where the building is not insured at all, and so you may want to discuss this matter with the landlord and come to some agreement going forward.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss this further.

Kind regards

Katie

By Katie Kozlowska on May 29th, 2013

Ashley

I am sorry to hear about your predicament.

Where two or more tenants assume joint responsibility for a lease, each party is treated as having acquired the obligation collectively as well as individually. This means that where there is a breach of an obligation under the lease such as a failure to pay rent, the landlord can seek full payment from any (or all) of the tenants, irrespective of who caused the breach. It is therefore likely that your landlord can hold you responsible for payment of your business partners half of the rent if he does not pay it himself.

That said, you may be able to recover your business partners share of the rent, from him directly. However, if he is not willing to pay this to you voluntarily, you may have to issue proceedings in order to do so.

Please get in touch if you require further assistance with this.

Kind regards

Katie

By Steven on May 30th, 2013

Hi,

I am very happy to have stumbled across this blog and hopeful you can answer my questions.

Over the last 2 years our neighbouring buildings have had extensive renovation work causing disruption directly to our business. I applied for and received a temporary reduction in our business rates. Can we expect our landlord to also recognise the disruption and also offer a temporary reduction in our rent for the periods of time in question?

As many businesses do we pay our landlord insurance rent to cover the building insurance. I recently raised some questions about this as we usually pay close to £3000 a year to the landlord. After talking with several insurance companies I was told a policy to cover everything required by our lease and to the same level of cover for the building that the landlords policy covers it would cost less than £700. The landlord insures our building along with several others. He has provided me with a copy of one of the previous insurance policies which included ours and the other buildings. However, this also covers all other aspects of the landlords business insurance needs as whole policy and premium for the cover. The landlord has informed me they decide how much each premises should pay of the premium based on the area of the building. Our lease states what is required by the cover, that insurance rent will be charged ‘a fair and reasonable sum which the landlord spends each year to insure the property as required by the lease’. Are we being over charged to cover the landlords other insurance needs? If so how do we best dispute this?

As am I’m sure you can imagine these issues have come to light as we struggle to maintain our business and cash flow. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Steven

By Maria Higson on June 3rd, 2013

Hi there
We have been leasing the same property for the past 30 years as a family business. The last time the lease was renewed was in 1995 for a ten year period – since then nothing has been renewed but we have continued to pay the rent to the landlord. The lease was in my uncles name who has now passed away, but my cousin is a director of the company, as was my uncle. Are we in a good position to carry on – my worry is if they are able to vacate us, how much notice would they have to give, but also if we could claim some kinf of “squatters” rights as we have been here so long?
Thanks for you help – great site!
Regards,
Maria

By Katie Kozlowska on June 10th, 2013

Maria

Thank you for your query.

The first point to note is that some leases contain provisions that apply upon the death of a tenant, for example, the lease may terminate upon death.

However, regardless of these provisions, if you have continued to pay rent to the landlord by reference to a particular time period (e.g. weekly, monthly or quarterly) then you may well have established a periodic tenancy in your own right. Periodic tenancies benefit from security of tenure under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, meaning the tenancy continues until terminated in accordance with the Act. This provides significant security for tenants of commercial properties as the landlord is only able to end the lease if he can prove one of the limited grounds listed in s 30 of the Act.

Even if the landlord can establish one of the s 30 grounds he must still give you between 6 and 12 months notice of his intention to terminate the lease and the notice must be in the precise form prescribed by s 25 of the Act.

If your landlord does notify you of his intention to terminate the lease it is important that you seek legal advice immediately, particularly if you wish to remain in the property.

Kind regards

Katie

By Katie Kozlowska on June 18th, 2013

Steven

Thank you for your query and apologies for the delay in responding to you.

If it is your landlord who is causing the disruption to your business, then you may be able to claim that your landlord is not allowing you ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property, as he is required to do by law, and this may be a starting point for negotiating a reduction in your rent.

However, where the disruption is caused by a third party, this negotiating stance is somewhat weakened, and there is no obligation on your landlord to compensate you for this. That said, many landlords want to keep their tenants happy, particularly in the current economic climate, and so you may be able to negotiate a reduction on rent with your landlord regardless, and there is certainly no harm in asking.

In relation to the buildings insurance, I would need to see the lease and a copy of the insurance policy in order to comment on whether or not you are being over charged.

I trust this is of assistance, but please get in touch if you require further advice.

Kind regards

Katie

By Paul on June 19th, 2013

Hi Steven,

I am a minority shareholder (two to one).

I am a director of business for more than 3 years
Problem arose between me and them- no solution found. Long story not for here but I believe I am victim of minority shareholder oppression.
Relationship deteriorated and I was sacked- unfairly. They know that. Low return at employment tribunal for me.There was never any discussion re reasons given for my dismissal.

There is no partnership agreement.

The business isn’t flourishing and annual turnover is low.

Question. Locks on shop were changed recently without notice on the day they sacked me.Lease has 6 years to run and its joint and several. Dont think I would but could I change locks, then inform them that they can have set as long as they undertake not to change them again and allow me unfettered access ?

Kind regards

Paul

By James Robbins on June 20th, 2013

Hi Paul

I am sorry to hear about your situation, which unfortunately is all too common.

With regard to changing the locks, this is not something that you would be entitled to do given that you are no longer an employee of the company.

There are a number of courses of action that you could pursue, including applying to court for an order that you have been unfairly prejudiced as a minority shareholder. However, the remedy that a court would be likely to make if it ruled in your favour would be for the other two shareholders to purchase your shareholding at fair value, so you would have to consider if pursuing this course of action would justify the costs involved, bearing in mind the company’s financial position and therefore the likely value of your share.

Such actions are complex and we would have to carry out a full review of the events leading to your dismissal before advising on whether you would be likely to be successful. Should you wish to instruct us to do this, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

James

By Annabelle on June 28th, 2013

Hello there.

I have an unusual case.

I opened a florist shop 8 years ago in a crematorium owned by a very well known company.

The building used to be the gardeners dilapidated old shed which I renovated at my own expense. Before I opened I continually asked for a tenancy agreement which never came.
8 years on and I’ve never had one or paid rent.

The shop is nice and I get lots of happy repeat customers and I’ve never had a cross word with the property owners.

They have now asked me to sign a ‘Tenancy at Will’ agreement and pay rent. I have no problem in paying the rent required but the terms of the contract state that I can no longer sell around 75% of the merchandise that I’ve been selling for the past 8 years.

If I cannot sell these items, my business will not longer be sustainable as the other 25% will be paid in rent,

The tenancy agreement also states many ludicrous conditions but my main concern is that they can terminate the agreement at any time and that I will have to vacate the building immediately.

I have tried to reason with them but they’re having none of it and the letter I received today has given me 14 days to sign the agreement.

From their attitude I feel that I’ll be signing my own death warrant if I do sign it as their terms and conditions will make it impossible to continue trading and I worry that they’ll terminate the agreement and order me to leave straight away.

My questions are: What is likely to happen if I don’t sign their agreement?
I’ve never ever signed anything from them so don’t know where I stand as I’m not legally a tenant or a squatter as I have their permission to be there.
I haven’t broken any terms or conditions as they’ve never provided any.
Can I be evicted?
Is there a legal process that they have to adhere to?
How long have I got?

I just don’t know what I should do for the best.
All of your advice will be greatly appreciated.

By Gary on July 2nd, 2013

Hi John

My limited company signed a 10 year lease in 2004 with me as a personal guarantor. The company went into liquidation in 2009. I started another ltd company soon after trading from the same premises, and that company has been paying the rent. There was no update to the lease to reflect this, and no rent payments have been missed.

Due to a downturn in business I have now vacated the premises and relocated the business to my home. I need a way to exit the the lease if possible.

As I understand it I have a few options/outcomes:

1. I try and negotiate a surrender of the lease – I was thinking of offering 25% of the remaining rent.

2. I stop paying rent and hope the landlords agent (the landlord is abroad) changes the locks, thus forfeiting the lease. I can then pay the arrears.

3. The landlord sits tight and pursues the full outstanding amount.

A few questions:

1. Does the landlord have any recourse against the new company that has been paying the rent, or is he likely to pursue me personally as original guarantor?

2. If I try and negotiate a surrender and the landlord refuses, will that alert him to sit tight and not move in to repossess?

3. How does the new company stand on the business rates? Does it need to continue paying them, or should I approach the council and tell them that it never had a lease agreement? Will they pursue me personally?

Any advice as to the best course of action would be appreciated.

Many thanks in advance, Gary

By James Robbins on July 3rd, 2013

Hi Annabelle

Thank you for your query.

Although the nature of the agreement between you and the landlord would depend on the specific circumstances of the case, it appears likely that you have an implied periodic tenancy, in which case you would benefit from security of tenure under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. If you do benefit from security of tenure, the landlord cannot simply evict you and could only do this by serving formal notice, giving you at least 6 months’ notice, and relying on one of a number of statutory grounds for not renewing the lease, such as an intention to redevelop the site.

If the matter could not be resolved, perhaps because you disputed the statutory reason given, either party could apply to court to determine whether you should be allowed to remain in the property, with the benefit of a new lease.

If you sign the tenancy at will, you will be bound by its terms and it would appear, on the facts available to me, unwise to do this. If on the other hand, the landlord were willing to grant you a lease, this is something that could potentially benefit you. However, you should seek legal advice before entering into any such agreement.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch should you require any further assistance in this regard.

Kind regards

James

By Lorraine on July 4th, 2013

Hi, I have a 10 year lease of which 5 years is remaining( not a ltd company) in a shopping centre that is in decline and most of the shops have closed. The landlords have went into administration and the bank is now running the centre. Prior to the banks taking over the previous landlord did not carry out any repairs or let any units for 4 years but continued to charge full service charge . My business has suffered as a result of this neglect and although the banks agents are now trying to secure new tenants and carrying out a 5 year repair programme , do I have any rights to claim back service charge money paid in the last 4 years and does a landlord have any obligations with regards to the occupancy level. I have asked the banks agents for a surrender of lease or a rent reduction based on current conditions but they have declined both.
They have made it clear they will persue me for full contractual obligations. Do I have any rights.
Regards
Lorraine

By James Robbins on July 4th, 2013

Hi Gary

In this situation, much will depend on the terms of the lease, the events following the liquidation and how the lease was dealt with by the liquidator; for example, if the lease was disclaimed (though please note that this would not absolve you of liability as a guarantor). In regard to your queries:

1. It could be or that there was an equitable assignment of the lease to the new company, in which case you and the old company are likely to remain liable under the lease, or that the new company has an implied periodic tenancy of the lease, in which case the argument could be made that the old lease was surrendered and that your liability as guarantor has ceased, with the new company only having to give a limited amount of notice.

2. Yes, this may alert the landlord.

3. Business rates are owed by the occupier, which in this case would appear to be the company. You cannot rely on the lack of a written lease as a reason not to pay.

I’m sorry I can’t be of more assistance, but as above, much will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. Please feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss this matter further.

Kind regards

James

By James Robbins on July 8th, 2013

Hi Lorraine

It is difficult to advise on this matter without having sight of the lease and knowing the specific circumstances surrounding the landlord’s administration. For example, it is not clear if the lease has been assigned to the bank, and it is therefore now the landlord, or whether it has appointed a receiver, which could act as agent for the administrator, and whether either of these events happened before or after the appointment of the administrator.

Depending on what has happened, you could have a right to claim damages from the bank or the landlord in administration (albeit that you would be likely to only receive a proportion of any amount owing) for breaches of repairing obligations. However, please note that, subject to the terms of the lease, it is likely that you could only make a separate claim for damages and not claim back the service charges. Further, the actual obligations of the landlord will depend on the terms of the lease. For example, if the landlord’s liability to you extends to keeping units other than yours in repair, this will be stated in the lease. However, it is unlikely that the lease would require the landlord to maintain a minimum occupancy level.

Please feel free to contact me should you require any further advice on this matter.

Kind regards

James

By Joanne Sivyer on July 8th, 2013

I took five year average lease as above maintenance etc.. Spent 10k doing building up as was in disrepair after 16 months the buidiness was not viable . Constantly struggling usually £200 behind every month we asked the landlord if we could leave. He agreed as long as the business rates were covered. So we left. I’ve now a year later been billed a years rent 9k and court threat. We had this verbally from the negotiation from the agent who when we phoned him agreed he had said this. If this goes to court and we call the letting agent as a witness is this enough to win a court case. Even tho we signed a binding contract. We would never have left and carried on struggling had he said we had pay rent even if we were not there. I’m on min wage now have no savings and even if ent to court have no money to pay it any way. Can u advise me

By Mohammed Khan on July 30th, 2013

I am a tenant for 17 years .since 2008 my relation ship with landlord not been great. My is very high at the moment .Quaterly i pay £5250 in advance this quater i made payment today £3000 there is 2250 outstanding ,He changed the lock today this is second time happened .He has got building insurance for small shop £2200 this is far too high i have to pay .I would like to know has he got right to change the lock without formal warning and insurance can he go for high premium. Lastly lease will end in Feb 2014 i heard he is not going to renew i dont have 1954 providion on my lease.Can i take any legal action against him.please advice me on that.

By Hugh Edwards on August 4th, 2013

We leased out our pub in 2005 having run it successfully for 12 years and paid off the mortgage. We created a 15yr FRI lease, initial rent 30k upward only, increasing in 2008 to 31500 where it has stayed.We then moved to the Caribbean, where we still live. The lease is inside the Landlord and TenanT Act. My tenant and her family live above the pub in the premises. This year she took it on herself to reduce the rent payments back to the original 30,000 (the rent is payable bi monthly in advance)but because she always pays in dribs and drabs I didn’t notice until 3 payments (6 months worth) had been underpaid. Because of this she is claiming that I have “accepted” the new rent. Is she correct? I also visited the premises and gave her a list of repairs needed, all relatively minor. She now claims she doesn’t need to do these until the end of the lease.

They also made alterations to the property which required Planning and Listed Buildings Consents, neither of which they obtained. I have now been contacted by the local council and been told that it is my responsibility as the owner of the building to apply retrospectively, I have told my tenants to do this but they refuse, as they say I gave them permission to do the alterations (I didn’t, but I did say I would probably not object as long as they did everything legally, and in any case my written permission is required under the terms of the lease)

If I continue to accept the 30,000, do I lose any rights to persue them for the debt?

I feel it is likely that she will eventually do a runner, and I would ideally like to secure the fixtures and fittings of the business so that we don’t come back to an empty pub, can I do this legally or do I have to have the F&F’s sold at auction to recover the debt?

Kind Regards

Hugh

By Zahir Ibrahim on August 5th, 2013

I am coming to the end of a 3 year lease on a shop premises and told the LL I didn’t wish to renew the lease due to the poor state of the building which regularly floods due to broken drains, etc. Due to downturn in trade I am in arrears with rent and very next day he sent in bailiffs stating I owe £8500 arrears in rent for a six month period dating back to oct 2011 – mar 2012 (coincidentally a period when his own business was dissolved). I have paid rent for this period although accept I may owe him around £1800 for the said period. I have provided bank paying in slips as evidence but he denies the money has been paid and accuses me of making up the payment slips. I understand the burden of proof is on him, but he flatly refuses to discuss the matter, where he could simply refer to his bank statements which would show the payments as these are the only ones paid in via the bank branch I used. I have told him I dispute the amount and told the bailiffs also, but neither are interested. He has issued bailiffs warrant via an estate agent who is selling the building for him. Is this legal? especially as I think its just a way of money bypassing his account as I know he is in trouble with the Inland Revenue for tax arrears. The warrant has been issued in my name as a sole trader which I am not, the company is a limited company. The rental lease is in my own personal name, not sole trader or limited company. The bailiffs did a walking possession on all my equipment and stock (I am an optician) and this all belongs to the limited company. Am I correct in thinking they cannot seize or levy distress on items belonging to the limited company and on items given absolute priviledge such as tools of the trade, as this is what they intend to seize. I have until 15 August to resolve this matter, at which time bailiffs have been instructed to re-enter the premises and seize everything. Landlord won’t enter into any discussion. I also believe he hasn’t insured the building and I have written to him under the terms of the lease requesting evidence of the insurance which he is also ignoring. Can you please advise me where I stand as time is running out and I am struggling to get good sound advice. Many thanks. Zahir

By karen on August 7th, 2013

I lease a retail lock up shop which I run as a newsagent and post office. I have leased the shop for 8 years. There are flats above the shop also owned by the landlord and rented out to private tenants. I have had a leak into my shop from the bathroom in the above flat on and off for about 12 months. The landlord refuses to return my calls, he directs me )via his receptionish) to the letting agent for the flats. The flats have only recently been put through a letting agent. What rights do I have? The leak is very close to electrics, I am concerned about the safety of my staff plus all of the post office equipment etc.

By Christopher Dearden on August 17th, 2013

Hi James, Several years ago we occupied one of two vacant units (units 9 & 10). We were forced to vacate unit 10 as our landlords sold this building to a motor mechanics, and to move into unit 9. Now our landlords have sold Unit 9 to the same motor mechanics.
Our lease expired at the end of december 2012. We have not received a new lease, but we have paid the first quarters rent, and our landlord has accepted the money. We have been chasing them, and have records of calls we have made to ask for the next invoices, but to no avail. We have still been paying them the electricity and water which they have accepted.
The solicitor who sold the business to the motor mechanics actually owned the property, but we were never informed of his intention to sell it, nor that he had actually sold it, and I believe he has withheld the invoices to deliberatly look like we are in arrears, therefore giving the new landlords a reason to try to evict us, so that they can use the building for there own purposes.
(We have already had a phone call from the motor mechanics telling us that they are going to evict us).

We have been in business for 30 years and have always been exceptional tenants, as we have never missed payments or been late to pay. Would we have a case, at least to buy ourselves 6 months to find new premises (these are very hard to come by where we are at present). Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Chris.

By Jeff on August 18th, 2013

my landlord has returned my payment for the rent on my commercial property and subsequently fitted padlocks to prevent access. he gave no notice, does not have a posession order and furthermore there is no right of forfeiture in the lease. can i remove the locks to gain access

By baber on August 28th, 2013

I took on a lease for a commercial property as a sole trader in 2012 and paid £4500 rent deposit. Earlier this year I moved the business to a Ltd company and paid the changeover fees for a new contract which was signed and accepted. The new contract does not state anything about a rent deposit. From what I understand the old contract(sole trader) is now null and void so I should be eligble for the rent deposit back. The landlord however is refusing to pick up my calls, He is conveniently away every time I call the office. Any advice would be helpful

By James Robbins on August 29th, 2013

Hi Joanne

Unfortunately, it is difficult to say with any certainty what the outcome of the case could be, particularly without knowing all the facts and surrounding circumstances of the case. However, the evidence of the letting agent would be very important, as it could otherwise be difficult to evidence the agreement, not least because leases are normally varied only by deed. It seems that you would benefit from taking formal legal advice now given that the landlord has not yet but might soon issue court proceedings. Please therefore feel free to contact me should you require further advice on the matter.

Kind regards

James

By Maria on August 30th, 2013

Dear Hugh,

Without knowing more details of the lease it is difficult to give you specific options. As with any variation of the lease, the tenant has to receive your agreement to vary the rent clause. It is therefore unlikely that you would be considered to have given your agreement if you had not been aware of the variation. You may therefore have the option of forfeiting the lease, though I would need to have knowledge of all the facts and circumstances of the case before advising on this issue. I would seek further legal advice on your question of whether you would lose your right to pursue the tenants for the debt if you continue to accept the lower rent. You do not necessarily have to apply for distress and therefore seize goods, but it is a fast and cost-efficient way of settling the debt if done correctly.
Under an FRI lease the tenant is responsible for constantly and continuously maintaining the property in a ‘good and tenantable condition and repair and fit for the purpose for which they are let’ (or similar words), not only handing it over in that condition.
Regarding the alterations, it appears the tenants are in breach of the covenant to obtain your permission, triggering the relevant consequences. One of the issues that I would check is whether the lease requires the tenant to pay your costs following a breach of the covenants or in respect of any application for a consent under the lease.
Regarding securing fixtures and fittings, if you enter the property you risk breaching an express or implied quiet enjoyment covenant. I would seek further legal advice on preventing the tenant from stealing the fixtures, possibly through an injunction.

Kind regards,
Maria

By Katie Kozlowska on September 1st, 2013

Jeff

A landlord who changes the locks when his right to do so has not arisen is in breach of his obligations under the lease and you can ask a court for an injunction to allow you back in the premises. The landlord will also be responsible for any loss caused to your business as a result of unlawfully evicting you.

If you would like specific advice on your situation, please contact me on 01772 258321.

Kind regards

Katie

By Atiq on September 2nd, 2013

Hi

I have had a good relationship with my landlord up until recently. I originally signed a one year lease with him and we agreed a £15,000 refundable deposit at the end of the term. This was stated within the lease agreement.

I had paid £11,000 deposit and agreed with the landlord that I would pay the remainder as my business progressed.

Once the 1 lease expired, I signed another lease for a further 5 years.

Then I had the landlord approach me a few weeks back to state that I owed him £4000.00.

When I read my new lease attentively, it did not mention the £15,000 refundable deposit at all. I agreed to pay the landlord the remaining £4000.00 if he signed a contract I drew up to state that a £15,000 refundable deposit had been taken.

He has refused this and stated that the original deposit had to be paid in full before he could tie himself into another contract.

I have never been late in paying my rent to him since in business.

I am reluctant to hand over a further £4000.00 to him as my original 1 year lease has expired and I have nothing in the new lease to say that I have paid £15,000 as a refundable deposit.

He is now threatening to change the locks and terminate my lease if I don’t pay him.

Where do I go from here? On one hand, I can give him the £4000.00 (totalling £15,000) but I have no guarantees I will ever see that money again apart from his word (for now)!

Help

Thanks
Atiq

By Sarah on September 10th, 2013

Hi!
My partner has a public house and has 4 years remaining on his lease. The pub was sold and he now answers to the new lndlord under the terms of his lease. There is a clause in the lease stating that, with written notice, the landlord can demand the rent be paid quarterly in advance. They have always paid monthly. They received this notice from the landlord today stating that this new arrangement will come into force on 1st October 2013 (just 20 days). Clearly this is going to be a struggle as they always pay monthly but I am wondering if the landlord can change the terms like this with such a short notice period? The lease doesn’t specify what ‘written notice’ period is sufficient. Is there some kind of standard notice period?

Any help is greatly appreciated, thank you.

Kind regards,
Sarah

By Sara on September 10th, 2013

Hi!
My dad had wanted to lease out a small commercial shop. Before giving the tenant a lease, he drafted a short “pre-tenancy agreement” for 10 years stating the tenant would need to pay monthly payment with a deposit. The tenant has since made damages in the property, not paid at least 4 months rent. My dad has changed the locks of the shop as he does not believe the tenant will be able to pay rent. My dad then handed the tenant the full lease with break clauses. The tenant has not signed this and has involved solicitors.

The solicitors have written saying the lease is valid. Can we argue that the agreement was breached by the tenant due to non-payment of rent and damage of property?

Thank you
Sara

By Ricard on September 12th, 2013

hi, We are leasing a shop for the second time with another 10 year lease. the rent was kept unchanged with a 5 year review, but the landlord also advised us of his plan to change the towncentre which he pretty much owns.
We are now halfway trough this period with another 1.5years left of the project. But most of the local shops terms have ended and hes either evicted them or moved other business to them allowing him to demolish those buildings. Footfall has dramatically depleted in the area as a result. and we are now only surviving with our balance sheets decreasing slowly by a surge of contracts from the recovering economy. My dad has spoken to the landlord asking for a temporary reduction in rent/ service charge and he has been unhelpful, is there any advice you can give us?
Do we also have a right to dispute the service charge as access to our building through service parking has been restricted. and on a time we’ve had to carry our own deliveries about 500m just so we can stay open.

I did ask a solicitor before and he said in the case of redevelopments there was nothing to help a tenant unless he was blocking our trade with the development. However I don’t know what you would call blocking trade, the are no restrictions to our door, however visually there is a big blue wall around the town centre and it only advises that the local market will be open during redevelopment. Do we have the right to ask that our business it advertised on this board, as the town would appear closed from the local road?

By J hodgson on September 13th, 2013

Hello
I’ve spent days searching for answer to what I assumed might be a relatively common scenario and would really appreciate your thoughts:

I have recently leased a shop, including an empty flat above, accessed through a shared back lobby.
The commercial 10-year lease states that “the tenant shall not underlet part only of the property”, although the landlord raised no objection when I initially suggested I may use the flat as short-term/holiday lets (to help pay the rent on the shop).
The labourer who has been helping me renovate shop/flat has now approached me asking to rent it on a longer term basis with his girlfriend, which would be perfect for me over the winter months.
Therefore:
Would my granting him a permission under ‘licence’ (maintaining access and paying all the bills myself’) be feasible so as not to create that prohibited ‘tenancy’, or, would I be better off getting him to sign a standard WHSmith AST agreement on the basis that if it does become an issue with the head landlord then at least I have taken full steps to protect him/me, or:- am I just being stupid trying to make this work?? (the rent would be REALLY helpful though as the business is having a very slow start, and this would just be a way of ensuring that I can pay my own rent to the landlord, whilst helping somebody who is quickly becoming a valued friend).

Thank you in anticipation,
J Hodgson

By Holly Clayton-Smith on September 18th, 2013

Hi Sarah

As the lease expressly states that on written notice the landlord can demand the rent be paid quarterly, the landlord will be well within his rights to request the change in frequency of when the rent payments fall due.

If as you say the lease remains silent in terms of the length of notice required to be given, then the landlord will have fulfilled his obligations under the lease in providing written notice of his intentions, so unfortunately in this situation providing written notice to your partner that rent will now be paid quarterly in advance with effect from 1 October 2013 will be sufficient.

Situations like this highlight the importance of reading the lease thoroughly in order to fully appreciate the terms of the agreement that the parties are committing to on entering into the agreement.

If you would like any further advice in respect of the queries you have raised, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01772 258321 and we will be happy to assist you.

Regards

Holly

By Rhian Hawkins on September 18th, 2013

Dear Jared

Thank you for your recent enquiry.

It is essential for a tenant to comply with the terms of their lease and any failure on the part of the tenant to do so will give rise to certain remedies becoming available to the landlord.

If an agreement is made between a tenant and a third party which is in principle a lease just termed under a different head, this would not circumvent the issue and the tenant would be in breach of their covenant under the lease to not underlet part of the property. If exclusive possession is being granted to a third party for a term certain at a rent, a lease is being created regardless of the name given to the agreement put in place. It may be possible for a tenant to vary the terms of the lease to allow for part of the property to be underlet, however, to do this the landlord’s consent would need to be obtained and a Deed of Variation would need to be put in place.

If you would like any further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01772 258321 and we will be happy to assist you.

Regards

Rhian

By Karl Sherratt on September 24th, 2013

Hi

My wife has been in business in her shop for 16 years and her lease is up in march, the landlord has contacted her today and said he is thinking about selling the property and wont renew her lease. When march comes could she still pay the landlord quarterly and stay in the shop? why cant the landlord grant her a new lease and transfer it to the new landlord? <<or is this because its more desirable to a buyer with no one connected to the property? if a new landlord bought the premises what rights does she have if any? and finally (sorry about all the questions) is it a 30 or 60 day get out period after they tell you to leave,,,thanks karl

By Nazir on October 1st, 2013

Hi i was in arrears of my rent due to downturn of my business but i was paying regular contribution of my rent on my business lease then my landlord forefieted change the lock the lease last month on 27 august and granted back to old tenant who was the supereme lease holder. But i told landlord of my downturn of my business from the day one where i ask him i want to sublet to taxi company he stopped me doing this because he said there is no parking space available.
Then he suggest me that i should sublet the first floor to my neighbour which i have done and takes me about 8 months to doing this and cost me about 5k. That is why i was in arrears of my rent because i spend all my money on subletting which landlord suggested me to do so. Because of all this hassle i was badly in debt and i have to borrow money from everywhere to run the business. My business gone down badly because of regular influence of old tenants. i paid premium of 55k to the old tenant but he ruined my business with the help of landlord what can i do is there any chance i can get my primium back or get the business back. By the way at the end i was only 1600 in arrears 400 on interest and 700 on some legal fees after taking out of my deposit money.

By James on October 2nd, 2013

Hello,

In March this year I used a bailiff company to recover arrears of rent amounting to £17000. That led to having to pay solicitors for the subsequent argument, I did however recover the complete sum (almost)

I wrote off the small remainder and started the rent account at £0 again, since then the tenant has paid me less than half of the ongoing rent despite reminders.

Is this a case where I am going to have to forfeit the lease? I know the tenant owes his suppliers and that he has other massive commitments.

Thanks for any views.

J

By Carol on October 3rd, 2013

Hi

I took on a 5 year lease for a small florist and paid £2500, this was last year. Things have not gone to plan and have decided to give the shop up. The landlord is now saying i have to pay £1500 for comission to let the shop, £100 per month for marketing, £50 every time an ad goes in the paper, £85 for a for a sale board, and also £30 per accompanied viewing. Is this acceptable?

Also the big one is the landlord is now saying if someone takes my lease on (with 3 years left) I only receive back what they paid for it if they are using it for a florist. If they are using it for anything else then i dont receive anything. Surely this is not right? What difference does it make if someone wants to open lets say a gift shop!!

Thanks

By James Robbins on October 4th, 2013

Hi Christopher

It may be that you have an implied periodic tenancy in which case the landlord would have to give you at least six months’ notice to leave and may in any event be unable to force you to leave at all, as it does not appear that any of the grounds on which tenants can be made to leave have been satisfied. One such ground is, however, non-payment of rent and it may therefore be that the landlord intends to make it appear that you have not paid rent on time in order to rely on this ground or simply to forfeit the lease. It is therefore important that you ensure that you keep records of all payments and continue to take all possible steps to pay the rent, even if invoices are not provided. You should engage solicitors, at the very least to put your landlord on notice that you are aware of any rights you have in order to prevent them attempting to evict you in the first place.

Please feel free to contact me should you require any further assistance.

Kind regards

James

By James Robbins on October 4th, 2013

Ricard

Much will depend on the terms of the lease. However, it is unlikely that you would be able to insist on a reduction in rent or to gain use of the advertising boards. That said, the landlord might be willing to make these concessions for commercial reasons, particularly if they are made aware that you may otherwise be unable to continue trading.

You may be able to dispute the service charge, however, though we would have to see the lease before advising any further in this regard.

Please feel free to contact me should you require further assistance with this matter.

Kind regards

James

By James Robbins on October 4th, 2013

James

You could consider distraining for rent again, suing the tenant for the arrears or forfeiting the lease, though you should be careful not to waive your right to forefiture by pursuing other options first. While you must seek legal advice on your right to forfeit the lease before doing so, the decision of whether to do this is likely to be in large part a commercial one. In particular, you would have to consider the prospects of finding a new tenant and the risk that the property might remain empty for a considerable period giving rise to a business rates liability.

Please feel free to contact me should you require assistance with this matter.

Kind regards

James

By Maria Fofanova on October 4th, 2013

Hi Carol,

Providing that assignment is not prohibited in your lease, although the landlord cannot unreasonably withhold acceptance, it can require payment of a reasonable sum in respect of any legal or other expenses incurred in connection with assignment(s.19(1)(a) Landlord and Tenant Act 1927).

Furthermore, S.19(3) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 has the effect that if the change of use for which the tenant is seeking consent does not involve any structural alteration of the property, then any restriction in the lease is subject to a proviso that no fine or sum of money “in the nature of a fine” will be payable in consideration for the landlord’s consent.

After checking your lease for any mention of conditions of assignment or change of use, I would seek further legal advice if you believe that the expenses the landlord is demanding are unreasonable and to ascertain whether s.19(3) above would apply to your case, and we would be happy to look at this for you.

Hope this helps,

Maria

By Maria on October 10th, 2013

Hi Carol,

Providing that assignment is not prohibited in your lease, although the landlord cannot unreasonably withhold acceptance, it can require payment of a reasonable sum in respect of any legal or other expenses incurred.

In addition, if the change of use for which the tenant is seeking consent does not involve any structural alteration of the property, then any restriction in the lease is subject to a proviso that no fine or sum of money “in the nature of a fine” will be payable in consideration for the landlord’s consent.

After carefully checking your lease for any mention of conditions of assignment or change of use, I would seek further legal advice if you believe that the expenses the landlord is demanding are unreasonable and to ascertain whether the change of use provision would apply to your case.

I hope this helps,

Maria

By Nina on October 14th, 2013

Can you advise please, we have just over 2 years left on a 9 year commercial lease and have been trying to reassign for over 6 months without success. We have an offer on our home and wish to leave the country and feel completely trapped as the landlord is refusing to allow us to terminate the lease early ( there is no break clause and we are a partnership). We are struggling to pay the rent due to the economic downtown and we are in retail,and are a little behind on the rent now. We cannot see a way out but cannot put our lives on hold any longer. What would happen if we just left the country ( having paid the rent up to date until we leave)?

By Pauline on October 16th, 2013

Hello,

I rent a shop with a designated parking space on the pavement outside. Last week my landlord came into the shop haranguing me because a customer had parked very badly, half on the pavement and half on the road. The customer was not causing an obstruction. However, the landlord very angrily said it was my responsibility, getting quite aggressive. He rang to apologise after. This week, he came in and said he had had a contretemps with a man who had parked further up the pavement (not outside my shop)where I could not possibly see or hear what was going on. The man had said to the landlord that he was coming to my shop. I did not see any of this being about a 30 metres away and in my shop so I have no idea who the man was or if he had ever been a customer. Again, the landlord held me responsible.I asked the landlord why he was holding me responsible for this man’s actions, he did not give me a clear answer, but lost his temper telling me to ‘stop talking’. When I didn’t, he said he was ‘giving me notice’. I said I would take him to court if he did and he took it back (I think.) I have a meeting arranged with him for. I think he is going to give me notice. Can you advise me, if I have any redress against him for his treatment of me.I have been in the shop for 2 years next month and it is on a rolling month to month after a 12 month period basis. I do not understand his attitude,there is nothing in my original lease about my responsibilities regarding pavement parking. It is not even mentioned. I have clear signs saying parking is for customers only. If he wants the shop back, of course, he has every right to give me notice. He has no need to use tactics. The way he is treating me on this issue is totally unreasonable. What comeback,if any, do I have please.

By John on October 21st, 2013

Hi

Can a landlord make you return a property back to its original state even if there is no such clause In the lease

thanks

By Holly Clayton-Smith on October 22nd, 2013

Hi Karl

Security of tenure is a generic phrase given to statutory rights granted to tenants to protect their interest under their leases. The protection made available to business tenants is contained in the Landlord and Tenant Act (1954). The Act gives security of tenure to tenants who occupy premises for business purposes and under the Act, a tenancy can continue after the contractual termination date unless it is ended in one of the ways specified by the Act.

Broadly, there are three requirements for the Act to apply:
. A tenancy – this is typically a lease, but other agreements may be tenancies where they grant exclusive possession for a term and at a rent. Certain tenancies do not qualify.
. The tenant must be in occupation.
. Occupation must be for the purposes of a business.

There is the possibility that the lease may have been drafted to exclude the security of tenure provisions of the Act, however, working on the assumption that the Act will apply in this situation, the only way for a landlord to begin the process of terminating a lease is to serve a notice on the tenant under s25 of the Act in the prescribed form.

If as you say, the landlord has simply notified your wife by telephone that he wishes to bring the tenancy to an end and has not served a notice under s25 of the Act to terminate, then an option available to you, would be to serve a request for a new tenancy under s26 of the Act. The tenant can apply to the Court for a new lease, which is likely to be granted unless the landlord can show the Court that one or more of the grounds for opposing the new lease apply. The Landlord can only oppose the grant of a new tenancy on seven specific grounds set out in Section 30(1) of Part II of the Act.

For a more in depth discussion as to how the Act may apply in this situation, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01772 258321 and we will be happy to assist you.

Regards

Holly

By Mike Cheskin on October 23rd, 2013

Please assist.
I had a lease for 15 years which came to an end in March 2013. The landlord said he would renew the lease but has not done so. I have continued to pay the rent. Should I be concerned about not having a lease in force?
Thank you

By tes thompson on October 23rd, 2013

Hi,
Your help please.
We have signed a sub lease and the landlord is the leaseholder to the Head lease.
WE have received an invoice with the quartely rent asking us for payment towards building works, our landlord has included a copy of a Section 20 which they received 2 months ago from the Head lease landlord. Needless to say this was never communicated to us. Do we have to pay this bill? the works have now begun, and in the future do we have any rights to be notified of notices sent to our landlord,
thanks for your help,

By Jon on October 24th, 2013

I hope you can help me. I took out a 3 year lease on a bakery, which was due to expire on the 1st October 2013. In early July, the landlord’s son who was the day to day contact for the landlord text asking what we would like to do with regards to the lease. I said I would welcome the opportunity to extend the lease, and asked whether he would consider reducing the rent. Also, in the lease, was a clause stating that we would have to pay the water bill for the residential flat, which we agreed to, but said we would not after the 1st October 2013, as the family numbers had rose from 3 to 6 and that our water bill had shot up. We suggested he either split the water meter or offer an alternative suggestion. We were due to go on holiday in mid August and had not had any response from the landlord, so text his son who said a letter was in the post. Four days later we text the landlords son again as the letter had not arrived only to be told his father had been busy with family business. Thinking somthing odd was going on I paid half of my due rent in the hope it would prompt the landlord into action. However, it had the opposite effect. Despite 3 more texts asking them how they wanted to proceed followed by, you obviously want me out, they ignored me. Whilst I was away, I got a phone call in Spain from a friend saying that there was forfeiture notifications in my shop window, dated just 2 days after my lease specifies they can enter. On return from holiday I took advice from a solicitor who said that although it was strange to take such drastic action for such a small sum of money, the landlord had acted lawfully. I was told to contact the landlords solicitors who were the contacts on the notifications to arrange collection of my stock and assets. However, more then two months have passed and I have been passed from pillar to post, and it seems to me that the landlord does not want to let me in to collect my stuff. I have questioned his solicitor twice asking them whether they believe their client has acted lawfully, as on the day of forfeiture a passer by witnessed a gentleman with a clipboard (the bailiff) and a gentleman of Indian origin (the landlord) but no sign of a locksmith. Only on the passer by’s return sometime later did he see the locksmith who was fitting the lock to the door. I can confirm the landlord did not have a set of keys for the premises and that this was the only entrance he could have gained entry. I also questioned how they by-passed the burglar alarm. As stated, I have raised this subject twice and the landlord’s solicitor has ignored both. We have asked whether we can go in on 5th November, but I know they will come up with another excuse to keep me out. I received a letter from them today, asking me how long it would take me to clear my belongings, 2 weeks after I wrote to them with my proposed date. I actually advised them in early September it would take me about half a day. What I would like to know is the following please.
1) Is there a time limit when a landlord must let you into the premises from the date of forfeiture?
2) Is it the bailiff who has to oversee the clearance of my belongings?
3) Who is liable for stock that will have perished due to this time wasting.
4) If the lease dates are incorrect on the notifications, are the notifications an illegal document?

I really hope someone can give me some advice. I feel I have been badly treated, and I can’t afford to take this back to a solicitor. Thank you.

By steve joseph on October 24th, 2013

HI.
I was wandering if anybody has any advice for me , I run a small jewellers in the midlands and it has been very hard for us the last 2 years , and my lease is about to end I have spoken to my landlord about reducing the rent , at the minute I paying £8000 a month plus my rates and running costs i.e wages and electricity etc , the landlord has put up a to let sign , I have offered to pay him £4500 a month plus I pay the rates as normal , and I have also said that if he does get anyone willing to move in and pay what he asks I will go , so the deal I have offered is I pay over half the rent until anyone moves in so if I do leave the premises his shop will stand empty , there are 5 outlets on the street that have stood empty for months now , and I have also said I will show any one around for him so any future tenant will see the shop lighted and warm and not cold and damp , and I have also said I would be out in 48 hours if he did find a tenant , also a fellow shop owner said to me keep trading and just pay him the £4500 a month until he can legally move you out , but I am sure he can just change the locks , any help or advice would be greatfully received
thankyou steve

By Marina on October 25th, 2013

We have worked from an out building on a farm for 10 years and have paid rent monthly, no contract just a verbal amount, all in.

We have recently been made aware that the owner of the farm does not have planning permission for the out buildings… What are our rights? Can we be evicted?

Thank you

Marina

By janet on October 28th, 2013

hi please advise…..
I am in the last year of my three year tenancy, the building has recently been sold with us as siting tenants.
we lived at the property, moved out and are now looking to move back in, the new owners have said that he will not allow this as HE has deemed it unsafe, is he allowed to do this? it states in the tenancy agreement that the living quarters are part of the agreement and a portion of the rent reflects this.
he also wants keys to the property and when I refused he told me he has the right to get the locks changed, is this correct? we have not breached our contract in any way, I have told him that he can gain access with reasonable notice, where do we stand?
he also wants to make alterations to the building, turning the living quarters into a restaurant am I able to deny access for this?
please help many thanks

By Trisha on November 1st, 2013

Hi I would very much appreciate some advice, my business lease was due to end and after a few days of discussion myself and my landlord came to a verbal agreement that he would continue the business for a small fee and that I would leave him a number of items to help him, so on the last day of trading (1 day before the lease end date) we arranged to meet on the last day of the lease to hand over money, keys and to put something in writing, at this point I owed the last months rent but in light of the above presumed this would just be knocked of the purchase price. The next day I went to the business to collect some items that were not staying at the business and to tidy around etc and my amazement the landlord had changed the locks? I contacted him but he was just rude and refused to explain or to meet, in the end I told him I would be at the business the following day to collect my things and to exchange monies etc. on arrival the next day he didn’t not turn up and when I rang he demanded rent to be put straight into his account, as I was now unsure of his intentions I paid the full amount to at least hopefully allow me access to my things and he said I could now get my belongings, and on returning to the business the door was open with the new key in the door although there was no sign of the landlord, i tried to ring him but got no reply so I collected most of my things, locked the door to secure the building any anything I couldn’t remove at that time and rang the landlord to say that I had the key. He then began to say that I had broken into the building and that I had caused damage to the property and that there are a list of repairs calculating to £5000 that I should have done before the end of the lease, he said I had 3 days to sort and to arrange to get the rest of my things, however he would not reply to my requests to arrange a day and time within those 3 days to do anything or to discuss anything. He is now (6 days later) stating that I leave most of th fixtures and fittings (that will allow him to continue trade downstairs), but I have to do repairs upstairs and to decorate the outside of the building ( which is in the lease to do so but I have already done) amoungst a few other things. I feel that he has just tried to continue my business at no cost and to steal my property to do so. I have made every attempt to communicate with him but he just controlling and just makes demands and I really don’t know what to do next?

By Maria on November 4th, 2013

Dear Steve,

If the landlord has accepted rent since your offer, then it may have waived its right to forfeit your lease. However if you continue to pay the lower sum then the right of forfeiture will arise again after a period of time.

If the landlord has not accepted your deal and you have already withheld £3,500 from your payment, then you are right in thinking that the landlord can at any point treat this as failure to meet the rent condition of your lease. In this situation it is open to the landlord to forfeit or peaceably re-enter the property. You can however apply for relief from forfeiture to court within a specified time period or until the landlord has obtained court order. If you are successful in your application for relief then the effect will be as if your lease had never been forfeited.

Hope this helps,
Maria

By brendan on November 6th, 2013

hi my tenant has been in arrears for 4 years i sent reminders sorted payment terms etc she has paid just 2 weeks rent in the last 2 months about 3 weeks ago i sent her a formal notice informing her she was in breach and that i would require the keys if payment was not forthcoming what steps do i take now thanks.

can i just change the locks if she does not give me the keys

By Richard on November 9th, 2013

Hi, excellent advice on this site. But just wondering if someone could help me please. Basically I have signed a lease under …. Ltd company. Under guarantor of myself and business partner. In the event that situations get worse could they take my house and car off me if they want to sue. Also if they changed the locks could they still proceed to trying to get the next 4 years of rent off me. Many thanks Richard

By mal on November 15th, 2013

hi
my partner rents a room in a hairdressing salon
with no written contract at all
after she told the owner she was going to leave the salon he announced that he wanted her to re decorate the room and wanted £150 in cash as a deposit so the work would be carried out or he would keep her belongings.
we have tried to go and remove her belongings but he refuses he is also claiming rent but we have a text to say she is up to date until the 19th of this month can he do this and what is the quickest way of getting her goods back so she can carry on working

By Holly Clayton-Smith on November 20th, 2013

Hi Marina
You mention that you have a verbal agreement with your landlord, there is therefore the possibility that the tenancy you have may be classed as a periodic tenancy. A periodic tenancy can be created in the absence of an express agreement and may be inferred where there is a landlord and tenant relationship and rent is demanded and paid by reference to a particular time period.

A tenant under a periodic tenancy of business premises has protection under Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and so any notice to quit given by the landlord takes effect subject to the provisions of the Act and provides that a certain procedure must be followed in order to bring your tenancy to an end. A periodic tenancy cannot be contracted out of the security of tenure provisions of the Act. So in this instance you should be protected from eviction by your landlord providing your tenancy meets the requirements for the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to apply; broadly, that you have a tenancy, that you are in occupation and that occupation is for the purpose of business.

This advice of course depends on what you have agreed verbally and without further information I can only provide you with advice based on the assumption that you have a periodic tenancy.
In terms of the lack of planning permission, it is important to note that it is not an offence to undertake development without planning permission, or make changes to a building without planning permission. However, it is a criminal offence to fail to comply with an enforcement notice. An enforcement notice is a notice requiring compliance with planning consent. On the assumption that your landlord has not been served with an enforcement notice, there are time limits imposed on the local authority’s ability to take enforcement action.

Four years is the time allowed to an authority to take enforcement action where the breach comprises either operational development (the carrying out of unauthorised building, engineering, mining or other operations) or change of use to use as a single dwellinghouse. Ten years is the time allowed to an authority for all other breaches of planning control. So if as you say you have been occupying the outbuilding for 10 years, there is a high chance that due to the expiration of the time limits that the unauthorised development will become lawful and immune for planning enforcement action. However it is important to note that there are circumstances where the time limits will not apply and without knowing further information regarding the outbuilding it will difficult to advise as to whether it would come within these circumstances.

For a more in depth discussion as to how the Act may apply in this situation or if you would like any further advice in respect of the time limits for enforcement, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01772 258321 and we will be happy to assist you.

Regards

Holly

By Maria on November 21st, 2013

Dear Brendan,

Providing that there are no other limitations on your right to forfeiture in the lease, you are right in thinking that you have the right to forfeit if the tenant has not paid rent. If you have demanded rent from the tenant or accepted any payments, then you may have waived your right of forfeiture. However, as the tenant’s breach is continuing, your right will arise again each day that it continues. Providing no-one is in the building, you can change the locks and leave a notice on the door explaining that you have changed the locks, forfeited the lease by peaceable re-entry for non-payment of rents and that from the date of re-entry the lease is considered to be at an end.

Regards,
Maria

By Katie Kozlowska on November 24th, 2013

Mike

Thank you for your query.

If you have remained in occupation of the property following the expiry of a written lease, and you have continued paying rent, it is likely that you have a periodic tenancy, although further information about the precise circumstances is needed to comment on this more definitively.

One benefit of a periodic tenancy is that it will be protected by the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. This protection restricts the rights of the landlord to get the property back at the end of the lease term, and also allows the tenant to apply for a new lease which the landlord can only object to on specific grounds. Written leases can excluded this protection.

That said, in my view it is always better to have a written lease so both parties know their respective obligations and so that it may be referred to in the event of any dispute.

If you require further assistance, please get in touch.

Kind regards

Katie

By Katie Kozlowska on November 24th, 2013

Janet

I would really need to understand more about the specific circumstances of this case to give you a meaningful answer.

However, on the assumption that you occupy part of the property on a commercial basis and part on a residential basis, you will firstly need to determine whether you occupy the property under one, or separate leases. You will then be able to ascertain what, if any, protection you have. Note, you cannot qualify for both commercial and residential protection under one lease.

Residential tenancies will usually fall within the Housing Act 1988 and, if not expressly excluded, commercial tenancies will fall within the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. It is important to determine this as the respective Acts offer different protection to tenants.

If you would like further advice on this issue, please call or email and I will be happy to assist further.

Kind regards

Katie

By Katie Kozlowska on November 24th, 2013

Pauline

Thank you for your query.

Under common law, there is an implied duty on landlords to allow tenants the ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property. This means that the landlord must ensure that no one, including himself, interferes with a tenant’s right to the lawful use and enjoyment of the property. If you consider your landlord has breached this obligation, you may have a claim for damages and/or possibly an injunction to stop the interference.

Separately, if you have remained in occupation of the property following the expiry of a fixed term lease, it is likely you now occupy the premises as a periodic tenant, which means the landlord may only end your lease in limited circumstances.

For further assistance, please get in touch.

Kind regards

Katie

By Katie Kozlowska on November 24th, 2013

John

If there is no written lease, or if a lease is silent in respect of repairing obligations, then your landlord is unable to take action against you to repair or reinstate the property. In these circumstances, the only obligation on you in respect of repair, is to avoid deliberate damage.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards

Katie

By Katie Kozlowska on November 24th, 2013

Jon

Unless the lease says otherwise, your landlord has no right to retain your belongings after the lease has been terminated by forfeiture. Accordingly, if your attempts to recover you belongings have so far been unsuccessful, you may need to consider taking further legal action. Often, in circumstances such as this, a solicitor’s letter will prompt a landlord to take action.

In terms of the perishing stock, if you can prove that your landlord has unlawfully prohibited you access to the stock, and these actions have caused you loss, it is possible that you would have a claim against him for damages. You would need to undertake a costs/benefits analysis before pursuing this line of action, as legal proceedings can be costly.

With regard to the notices, the court will often interpret statutory notices very restrictively and errors can therefore invalidate them completely. I would need to see the notices and lease documentation to comment further in this regard.

Kind regards

Katie

By Harriet on November 25th, 2013

Hi Katie,
we have owed a property for a year that has a discounted rent for a few years and was due to be reviewed on the recently to market value rent. We were meant to notify the tenant at least 2 months before the review date and we did so. The lease says that it could go to the arbitrator if not agreed. They have however waited 3 months to respond at all ie after the review implementation date. They say they are not in breach of the lease and want to go to arbitration now. We used a firm of local surveyors to do the rent review, so it a fair value for the premises. They have continued to pay rent at the low rate. How do we stand legally on this? They are a successful business.
Many thanks
Harriet

By Rhian Hawkins on November 25th, 2013

Tes

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, a landlord must consult a tenant in respect of any works they wish to carry out to the property where the cost of the works are to be recovered from the tenant by way of a service charge and the amount to be recovered is over £250. This consultation is to take place by way of a Section 20 notice being served by the landlord upon the tenant with any failure to serve such a notice resulting in the amount recoverable from the tenant being capped. As your query is in respect of a subtenant’s right to be consulted this raises some interesting and complex issues. It may be possible for a subtenant to dispute payment of any invoice served upon them where they have not been properly consulted and for the amount recoverable to be capped, however, this will ultimately turn up the terms of the lease under which the property is held and which we would require sight of before advising any further in this regard.

Should you wish to discuss the matter further, please feel free to contact us on 01772 258321 and we will be happy to assist.

Kind regards

Rhian

By Maria on November 28th, 2013

Dear Richard,

As a guarantor you will be liable for any breach of covenants until the tenant assigns the lease, provided that it is not an excluded assignment. Therefore, while as the tenant your liability would end with the forfeiture of the lease, unfortunately the landlord could pursue you for its losses as the guarantor. As guarantees are a complicated area, I would seek more detailed legal advice regarding your situation. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01772 258321 and we will be happy to assist you.

Regards,
Maria

By David warren on November 30th, 2013

I have been in a small industrial unit for 9 years we have redecorated and left the unit in better condition than when we took over and are moving to another unit due to the fact of existing bad parking etc. the landlord has told us we have to have the electrics fully tested even though he told us he was going to have the electrics tested a couple of years ago and never did .we have never had any certification from the landlord for the electrics ,is he in breach of his responsibilities? And should he pay for the test as it is his premises? When we took the unit on there were some electric cables just hanging around , we tucked them away so they were safe and made sure they were not live but nothing was ever tested by him , surely this is not down to us ? Thanks in advance for your reply

By Rhian Hawkins on December 3rd, 2013

David

Thank you for your recent enquiry.

The extent of a tenant’s repairing obligations ultimately depends upon the extent of the property demised to the tenant and the respective
landlord’s and tenant’s covenants contained in the lease. We would therefore require sight of the lease entered into before being in a
position to provide you with any specific advice.

Generally speaking, leases granted for a fairly substantial term are full repairing and insuring leases which means that the tenant would be
responsible for maintaining service media (including cables) which exclusively serve the property. You mention that the property you lease
was in disrepair when the lease was entered into. It is essential for a tenant to consider the condition of the property and the standard of
repairing covenant to be entered into before the grant of a lease, as it can mean that the tenant is responsible not just to repair the property
but also to put the property into repair even if the disrepair existed prior to the date of the grant of the lease.

It is also important to note that under a full and repairing lease a tenant would be required to ensure that the property is maintained in
line with any requirements laid down in law and to comply with the recommendations and requirements of the insurers of the property, which could extend to carrying out electricity tests on the property.

Should you require any further assistance please feel free to contact us on 01772 258321 and we will be happy to assist.

Kind regards

Rhian

By Joanne on December 12th, 2013

I have a complicated one.

3.5 years ago I entered into a commercial lease. At the time I distinctly asked for the lease to be put into the ltd name, they kept putting is Joe Blogs trading as Ltd, rather than just limited. I have this in an email to landlord which she confirmed had been done. And it had on the front page, however on last page it still had signed by joe blogs trading as co. ltd. I never noticed and signed. There was just one copy and I was never given a copy.

Roll forward 2.5 years and my shop folds. The lease was due to end in June 2013. In October 2012 we stopped paying rent and moved out. In December 2013 the landlord changed locks so we had no access.

In all invoices up to October 2012 they were made out to Ltd company name. From November 2012 onwards she changed them to my personal name and is now going after me personally.

I asked for a copy of the lease and the front page has been changed back to Joe Blogs trading as co. ltd. rather than just co. ltd. I counter signed the front cover and remember t his but off course this front cover with correct name has disappeared.

Where do I stand. She is taking me to court for rent up to June 2013 even though she changed locks in Jan 2013 and she is going after me personally.

1. Can you sign a contract as joe bloggs trading as company name ltd. I did own the Ltd company and had NEVER traded as joe blogs trading as company name ltd, it was always just company name ltd.

2. What are the consequences of signing like this (although its not what I signed on front page)? Is it me liable? or as signing as trading as a ltd company does this make the body corporate liable?

3. What are the consequences of her changing locks early? Does this reduce my liability?

By Christine Browne on December 18th, 2013

I have had my shop for 26years . it was on a “Renewable” leace upto 3 years ago when it ended but the new Landlord would not renew the lease and was happy with me paying a quartly rent as I had been doing and running by the old leace terms
he has now come up with a proposed lease which includes a 75% rent increase which includes for me to be responasble for all outside paint and repair or to shair the cost.The building is over 100 years old and the shell of my building has not been well maintained over the last 7-10 years. It has a leaking roof and has an exstream damp problem which I have notified the landlord many times of the problems.The Windows and door have been replaced in the last 2 months as thay were in dier need of repair (i have waited over a year)
The new leace is for 3 years ,but I retire in 12 months when I am happy to return the keys but do not want the responability of paying for another 2 years left on lease .
I need to know were I stand legaly and have I any right to refuse the leace in its presant form .

By Andrew on December 18th, 2013

Hi, we are having some major problems with our current landlord and finding it difficult to find a neutral ground to move forward from. We rent 3 premises from the landlord although a downturn in business has meant that we probably don’t need then all now. We have still tried to maintain payments (£10500 a quarter) but struggled so we made a deal to pay weekly. Cash flow had impacted on being able to keep this up in November but we have been catching it up since. We have currently paid until the end of the year but tote landlord is saying that if they don’t receive the balance of the quarter (in advance) by 24/12/13 then they will instruct bailiffs. If bailiffs come in does that terminate the lease? Also we had to pay £3k for roof repairs and £6200 for insurance (this figure wasn’t given at the time of signing the lease). We requested at the point of signing that we wanted to pay monthly and we’re told it wouldn’t be a problem – the paperwork says different. Can you advise please, p.s great site and glad to gave stumbled across it.

By Craig on January 6th, 2014

Hi,
I’m thinking of buying a business. The landlord (tfl, the property is in a London underground station) of the premises of the business has told me that the maximum lease will be 6 years and there will be a clause stating that the landlord could take back the property for ‘operational purposes’ with a 6 month notice period. The lease is not covered by the LTA. What I’d like to know is there any kind of insurance policy that I can take that will protect me and pay compensation if the above situation occurs? Potentially I could buy the business and then a year or 3, 5 etc later may lose the lot as the landlord wants it back.

Thanks, Craig

By Rhian Hawkins on January 8th, 2014

Craig

Thank you for your recent enquiry.

Unfortunately, indemnity policies are not available to cover these kinds of situation.

It is imperative that unless happy with the terms of the lease that a proposed tenant does not sign the same. In this instance, should the landlord wish to forfeit the lease and take back the property for operational purposes, compensation would not be available per se unless expressly provided for in the terms of the lease. For example, if the lease contained a relocation clause stating that in the event of the operation of the said term that the landlord must offer to the tenant a lease over suitable alternative premises.

You mention that you are purchasing a business and it is important to note that should the landlord forfeit the lease and take back the property, this would not mean that he would also be taking the business back from you. The landlord would be taking back possession of the property leased to you. However, you would still be the legal owner of the business, albeit that you would have to operate the same from a different premises. Any loss incurred by the business in this respect would not be recoverable.

Should you require any further assistance, please feel free to contact us on 01772 258321 and we will be happy to assist.

Kind regards

Rhian

By abidafahy on January 10th, 2014

do you advise Landlords with concerns about Tenant obligations?

By Lisa on January 21st, 2014

Very helpful site. I signed a commercial lease for a period of 3 years but I have since found out that the property is in fact leased out to another person for a period of 125 years. the person I entered into the lease with is the absolute title holder of the property but the leasehold on the property is in the name of another person. Is my lease legal or is it null and void as the property is already leased to someone else for the purposes of clarity it is the absolute title holder who has entered into both leases and the the lease for the 125 years is on the property register. I would appreciate any help with this issue as it may cause future problems if I can not get this rectified. If the lease is null and void where does that leave me?

By Lisa on January 21st, 2014

my commercial lease is for a first floor shop premises and it states this on the lease. I in fact occupy the ground floor of the premises not the first floor, do I in fact have a lease over the ground floor?

By Ali on January 23rd, 2014

Hi, great site!

I have a query on behalf of my friend, please assist.

my friend has a commercial lease with his landlord.
He sub-leased a lease to somebody else.
However his lease had a restriction to sub-lease.
nevertheless his tenant (sublease)has not paid business rates.
my question – who is liable to pay business rates my friend or the sublessee – even though the sublease is not allowed by the original lease.

Please help…..
many thanks.

By Rosey on January 24th, 2014

Hi.
I occupy land and operate with planning permission and have done so for 6 years.
During this time it was agreed with landlord to purchase the site but the funds were unobtainable.
Each lender I approached initially had high hopes but ultimately declined to lend and gave no reason. Ive invested over £100k in the site and it now appears that the planning permission can no longer be relied on and I have been issued enforcement by the local authority to this effect.

I have just commenced my 7th year occupancy of the land and I am dealing with the enforcement issue but if I win my case it will open the site for other development to be sought.
I am worried that the landlord will have the right to terminate as I am now deemed to have no planning and in breach of tenancy.
I have read up on the landlord and tenant act and due to my landlord not issuing a new lease last December 2013 I am now in a periodic tenancy.
I am getting no replies from the landlord to my recent questions.

By oak properties on January 30th, 2014

A tenant has vacated premises without notice and has just dropped keys of at my home when i was not at home, he has 4 years left on his lease and was two weeks behind on rent when he handed keys over. he is not answering his phone.
kind regards zak

By Catherine Janeway on February 2nd, 2014

Hello there,

Many thanks for taking the time to read this.

I signed a five year lease on a small shop and traded successfully as a sole trader with a rent of £1000 per month. The landlord was absent and I never heard from him from one year to the next. After five years, the lease expired and as I had not heard a peep out of the landlord, I continued to trade as normal without any signed agreement. Almost a year later, the landlord visited the shop and I mentioned to him that there was no lease in place. He told me that he wasnt keen to spend any further money on solicitors fees and just to continue as normal. Later that year, my business began to fail and I could not pay the rent. Despite missing payments, I did not hear from the landlord. I had every intention to pay as soon as business picked up, but sadly things just got worse. I struggled on for a couple more months, then decided to give ‘notice’ in writing. I met with the landlord and explained that I was almost broke and had to close the business – I gave him a months notice. I explained to him that I had huge amounts of outstanding debt to the tune of £8K and acknowledged that I owed him £10K in outstanding rent. I did not go bankrupt, but muddled through. I managed to put in place payment plans with the bank to pay off the debt. I had managed to secure a full time job on minimum wage and hoped to try and make some payments back to him once I got on my feet. In the two years since I closed the shop, I have managed to pay off the £8K to the bank, but the landlord is chasing me weekly for the £10K. I have just been given my redundancy notice at work and know that it will be impossible to start any sort of payment plan to him. When I first closed the shop, the landlord said that he should consider writing off the debt, but he wont do that, as he entitled to his money, regardless of not having a current lease in place. I think I have exhausted all my options, now with redundancy looming, I think he may sue me for the £10K, which I assume he has the right to do. Any advice would be most welcome, I am so desperate, I have nowhere to turn.

By Anne Priest on February 4th, 2014

Hi there.

I had a pub lease with Punch Taverns in my personal name as I was advised to do this by my accountant however the business was run as a limited company which Punch were fully aware of. I went out of business and Punch reassigned the lease. I owed money to all the utilities companies however South East water had put the account in my name without my permission and refused to change it throughout my occupation despite many letters. They are now suing me personally thought the courts although I have never personally benefitted in any way from the use of the water. I have been unemployed since leaving the pub and cannot possibly pay them. Am I liable?

By Holly Clayton-Smith on February 7th, 2014

Hi Lisa

This will depend on the facts and what was originally intended.

On the assumption that you were taking a lease of the ground floor and that the Landlord intended to grant you a lease of the ground floor then it appears that there has been an error in the drafting process.

Provided that both parties agree that it was a drafting error and wish to correct it then this can be done by a Deed of Rectification.

Please feel free to contact us on 01772 258321 should you require any further assistance and we will be happy to assist you.

Kind regards

Holly

By kitt on February 11th, 2014

hi,
I sublet an area of my business premises, without a lease – more a gentleman’s agreement. I now need to reclaim the space, so I have given the person a month’s notice to quit. since doing this, their behaviour has become aggressive and they now haven’t paid the rent for the last three weeks – I think I may have to book a bailiff to reclaim my space – is this the right thing to do? the person renting the space is now threatening me with court action – even though no agreement is in place – for loss of earnings etc – what can I do to reclaim my space legally and rightfully?

By T on February 13th, 2014

Hi,
We had a commercial lease that expired on 24th December 2013. We were in the process of a sale and surrender but the landlord was not responsive and we were unable to complete the deal before the end of the lease. We ceased trading on the 24th December and vacated the property. We have heard nothing from the landlord and are thinking of just sending the keys back. Are we liable for anything other than potentially schedule of dilapidations which we did address most of?

By paula on February 28th, 2014

hi there i rent a shop i had a 3 year contract which is up on the 4 may…my old landlord sold the shop the lady who bought the shop give me my notice,she has only own the shop for 8 month can she open a sandwich shop (same as mine) and take my customer wat i built up for 3 years…i payed for the buisness..can she do this without buy my buisness like i had to pay??? thanx

By Joanne on March 14th, 2014

Hi
I also have a question regarding the expiry of a commercial lease. My 10 year lease is due to end on 31st of this month and I gave notice to the landlord 18 months ago that I did not wish to renew it. I am selling the business that has operated at this premises and the buyer has been negotiating with the landlord, a new lease. My landlord has been to see me today to tell me that it is actually my responsibility to arrange the new lease. Is it? Surely at the end of the lease, the property reverts to the landlord/freeholder?
Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

By David Hasell on March 14th, 2014

Hi,
This is probably an obvious one but I will ask anyway, I signed a commercial lease in May 2010 (18 months lease now expired), that states that my Company is responsible for the electricity on the property, although that was not what was originally verbally agreed with the agent, the landlord has just sent me a bill for my percentage (based on floor area) of the 2012/13 electricity bill, we have not received previous bills and I assume they will no doubt follow, unbelievably dumb not to read through properly I know, but is there anything we can do other than pay and await the backdated bills?

By GOWilliams on March 17th, 2014

I have a commercial tenant who has been in place for approx. 45 years. I inherited my business from my father who had a ‘special’ arrangement rent-wise with the tenant: basically he’s on a 1/2 acre site & paying £3,500 pa.
I now want to sell the land he’s on to invest the capital back into my business, but having offered him ‘first refusal’ he’s dragging his heels on responding. I have a buyer lined up if the tenant doesn’t want to buy but he won’t wait for much longer due to his lease arrangements.
I am struggling to find anywhere what my rights are as the landlord / land owner in this situation – it seems that if I want to sell my own land it will cost me a fortune in legal fees & the tenant has more rights than me. What to do?

By John on March 20th, 2014

Hi,

I have a commercial property which was let on a 10 yr lease to someone running a cafe business. After 18 months I agreed under an AGA to allow him to sub-let and sell the business. Since then the first tenant has moved abroad and I’m not sure where. The second tenant is trying to sell again but it looks as if he can’t. If he defaults what are my options if I can’t find the original tenant.

By Paul on March 25th, 2014

We have recently started a lease which clearly states the the annual rent should be paid in twelve equal amounts.
“The Tenant shall pay the Annual Rent and Service Charge (and any VAT) by twelve equal instalments in advance on or before the Rent Payment Dates. The payments shall be made by banker’s standing order and shall be set up in such a way as to ensure cleared funds in the landlord’s bank account by the Payment Date in question.”
I have received an invoice for the rent recently which asks for 3 months. Am i right to refuse this and still pay monthly?

By Tina on March 25th, 2014

I was in a partnership and I left the business due to the fact we were not getting on and I left bank balance. Everything therein the company. Now I found out that the other partner is leaving the business. There is a 3 year break clause in the lease and there is 2 years left on the lease and I want to go back and take over the business but the landlord won’t let me contune with it. Can he do this? Is this legal?

By Amy on March 29th, 2014

My partners shop which he was a tenant of caught fire in Nov 2012. He has now had threating letter saying he is liable to pay his rent in full from this day and is responsible to rebuild the shop after their insurance company has failed to pay. To my horror I have sat and read through the lease that he signed during his shop hours as the landlord made him sign it then and there and I am not sure if all the lease was attached to the page he was signing. Besides this it clearly states at the front that he must initial a new paragraph that has been hand written. When checking whether he has signed it he hasn’t and we are not sure who has but it is 100% not his initials or signature. Will this void the lease? His shop caught on fire a month after our honeymoon and I fell pregnant a month after and we had so much stress that we gave up our fight for our insurance. Now I have read all the evidence and paper work with a clear mind I have noticed that the reasoning behind our non payout of insurance is not infact stated in any documents I have (not in our insurance terms either)! Can anyone suggest what we can do next as money is tight and it just seems like a never ending battle.

By Vandy seng on March 30th, 2014

Hi
I own a shop and signed 6years lease.it say in the lease if tenant is not paying rent in 14days. I am the landlord can take my shop back. what happens if tenant pay part rent and part rent in rent arrear can I still kick tenant out? Do I have to give notice to tenant? What sort of form do I need to use? Is pre section 146 notice the right form? Where can I download or buy this form from?
Thanks in advance and looking forwards to hearing from you soon. Vandy

By Laura Read on April 11th, 2014

I have read your blog with interest and found it very helpful, but wonder if you could clarify the following:
I have taken over the management of several commercial properties from my father which do not have written tenancies. I understand that these would be classed as periodic tenancies (rent is generally paid monthly)and would come under the Landlord and Tenant Act. I have a tenant who is refusing to pay the rent increase (which I based on market rate of similar properties). Am I correct in thinking that it is necessary to issue a section 26 notice giving 6 months to pay? Thank you for your help.

By ali on April 14th, 2014

my shop lease will terminate in2015
I am in rent arrears because I am struggling a lot to make money
my landlord ignore me when I explain to him the situation and told me you have to stay until the end of the lease and you must pay the amount owed
can you assist me please what to do
thanks
Mr Ali

By Rhian Hawkins on April 15th, 2014

Zak

It is essential that should you wish for the lease to continue running that you do not do anything that would appear to be an acceptance of the surrender by the tenant (i.e. taking back the keys and no longer invoicing for the rent). Written notice should be given to the tenant stating that the handing over of the keys is not accepted as surrendering the lease and you should continue to invoice the tenant for rent. In the event that the tenant does not make payment for the rent and any other outgoings, then the remedies under the lease for breaching the same would become available to you. In this situation, you could sue the tenant for the arrears or consider forfeiting the lease, the latter of which may not be the most desirable option as you would become liable for all outgoings on the property, which could be considerable should the property remain empty for a lengthy period of time.

Please feel free to contact us on 01772 258321 should you require any further assistance and we will be happy to assist you.

Kind regards

Rhian

By Rhian Hawkins on April 15th, 2014

Rosey

Without sight of the lease and any other correspondence which has passed between you and the landlord, I am unable to provide you with any definitive advice. With regard to the landlord being able to forfeit the lease due to the planning issues, this will largely depend upon the terms of the lease itself and the grounds listed therein for forfeiture. However, in respect of your query regarding the expiry of the lease, generally speaking the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act) includes, amongst other things, provisions which allow for the continuation of a business tenancy after the agreed term of the lease has come to an end, and also gives a business tenant the right to renew their tenancy, providing that the provisions in the Act are not expressly excluded by the lease. If the lease has not been contracted out of the Act then it will continue on the same terms until brought to an end in line with the forfeiture terms therein or the landlord serves a notice under section 25 of the Act. In the event that a section 25 notice is served you would be entitled to apply for a new tenancy on terms which are either to be agreed between you or the Landlord or decided by the court.

However, if the lease is contracted out and has expired there are no active negotiations for a new lease to be entered into and you have remained in occupation and the landlord has demanded or accepted rent, which appears to be the case from what you have described, then it is likely that a periodic tenancy has arisen. Periodic tenancies benefit from the protection of the Act and in this instance, to terminate the tenancy the Landlord would need to serve a notice to quit and a section 25 notice.

It is important to note that if a person is in occupation of a premise while negotiations for the terms of a lease are continuing, often the occupation will be deemed to constitute a tenancy at will, which can be terminated at any time.

Given the amount of money you have invested in the property, I would strongly advise that you obtain full legal advice as to your rights in the given situation and this is something we would be more than happy to provide you with should you so wish.

Kind regards

Rhian

By Rhian Hawkins on April 15th, 2014

Catherine

The landlord would be able to sue you for the arrears should they so wish, however, it may be fruitless in them doing so if you have no assets for any judgment granted in their favour to be enforced against. It may be in the given situation that the costs of brining any such claim would outweigh the benefits.

Kind regards

Rhian

By Katie on April 27th, 2014

Paul

Thank you for your query.

When rental payments are due will depend on the provisions of your lease. So, if you lease states that rent is payable monthly, then rent should be paid monthly (unless you have reached some alternative mutual agreement with your Landlord). I am assuming that you have been invoiced for three months rent in advance? This being the case, I would suggest contacting you Landlord in the first instance to explain that you think that the invoice is incorrect and to request that the original invoice is credited and an invoice reflecting the proper arrangement is raised.

If you have any further difficulties following this, please feel free to get back in touch.

Kind regards

Katie

By Katie on April 27th, 2014

Tina

Thank you for your query, which raises some interesting issues, however, I will need to know further information before I am able to provide you with legal advice. For example, did you retire from the partnership? Whose name is on the lease? Is the break clause in favour of the landlord or the tenant and has notice been served? The other terms of the lease will also be important – it could be that the landlord has the right to forfeit the lease on dissolution of the partnership.

I would be happy to discuss this with you in more detail should you wish: 01772 258321.

Kind regards

Katie

By Rahul on April 27th, 2014

Hi was looking at one property on sale which was having this detail as tenure.
We understand the premises are held on a secure renewable Council lease for a period of 6 years from August, 2008 at a rental of £(amount)p.a.
Can I ask landlord to give new lease with new period when I buy this business.
Many thanks

By Rhian Hawkins on April 29th, 2014

Dear John

Thank you for your enquiry. Before I could give any definitive advice it would be necessary to determine exactly what transaction has taken place as your email refers to an AGA (which is usually associated with an assignment of the lease as opposed to a sub-letting) and also a sub-letting (in which case your tenant remains the same person and continues to be liable for the rent in accordance with your lease).

It will be necessary to ascertain the actual transaction that has taken place in order to determine where your remedies lie. If there is a sub-lease in place, your contractual relationship remains with your tenant and not directly with the sub-tenant. If in fact the transaction was an assignment, your remedy would be against either the assignee or the former tenant under an AGA.

In the event that the tenant fails to make the rent payments or any other payments due under the lease, then the remedies under the lease for breaching the same would become available to you. In this situation, you could look to sue the tenant for the arrears or consider exercising your right to forfeit the lease, the latter of which may not be the most desirable option as you would become liable for all outgoings in respect of the property, which could be considerable should the property remain empty for a lengthy period of time.

Another option that may be available to you is to exercise the statutory process for commercial rent arrears recovery under the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 known as “CRAR”. CRAR can only be used to recover rent, VAT and interest, it cannot be used to recover any other sums due under the lease. If a certain number of pre-conditions can be satisfied, then a certified enforcement agent may enter the property and take control of certain goods belonging to the tenant to satisfy the rent arrears due. There are detailed procedures that must be complied with in respect of powers of entry and how bailiffs take control of goods and a minimum of seven days notice in writing must be given to the tenant notifying them of the intention to use CRAR, which ultimately carries the risk that the process may be rendered redundant should the tenant chose to move their goods elsewhere.

In terms of the authorised guarantee agreement, you could look to hire enquiry agents to locate the original tenant and seek to enforce the same. However, locating the original tenant may take a substantial period of time and may cost a considerable amount and there is always the possibility that they may not be located and such costs would be wasted. It would ultimately be for you to decide whether the costs of doing the same would outweigh the benefit.

Should you require any further assistance, please contact us on 01772 258321 and we will be happy to assist you.

Kind regards

Rhian

By Rhian Hawkins on April 29th, 2014

Dear Mr Ali

Thank you for your recent enquiry.

You will remain bound by the terms of the lease until the expiry of its contractual term or until the lease is brought to an end in line with any provisions contained in the lease for early determination (i.e. a break clause) or the landlord agrees to release you early by way of a surrender. Should you default on meeting the rental payments or any other payments due under the lease then the remedies under the lease for breaching the same would become available to the landlord. These include being able to sue you for the outstanding arrears or (assuming the lease contains an clause allowing the landlord to do so) exercising the right to forfeit the lease, the latter of which may not be the most desirable option to the landlord as he would become liable for all outgoings in respect of the property until new tenants are found. Another option that may be available to the landlord to pursue outstanding arrears is to exercise the statutory process for commercial rent arrears recovery under the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. Please see blog post above addressed to John Walker for more information in this regard.

Should you require any further assistance, please contact us on 01772 258321 and we will be happy to assist you.

Kind regards

Rhian

By Clive Mellars on April 29th, 2014

Hello guys, Congratulations, This has been the most informative site I have found. Thanks for valuable help you give to the sleep deprived. I have a number of problems for which I seek help but I’ll limit myself to just the one on this occasion.
I recently took a tenant Hairdresser to court in an effort to claim unpaid rental from some years ago. She responded by counter claiming for rather more. The rent arrears began to accumulate when payment of the 2nd quarter was missed and a decoration invoice ignored. I chased it up with the usual letters and just one day before the 3rd quarter rent was due I received a note saying that she had a party interested in taking over her lease. I replied please let me have details a s a p as you now owe 2 quarters of rent. The very next day I received a letter from an agency managing her debts.(it made no mention of an IVA but I received 4 ludicrously low payments over the next weeks by cheque which I ignored and did not cash).Ten days went by with no response to my request for details of her alleged interested party and over the previous few weeks I noticed the shop interior becoming ever more empty until all that was left was fixtures and fittings. Through the grape vine I not only heard that she had begun mobile hairdressing( which tied in with the lack of tools of the trade and missing shop stock)but also that the interested party had walked away. I took advice and decided I would restrain the remainder of what was inside the shop in lieu of the debt by changing the locks. I put a notice on the door (in an named envelope to spare her blushes – small village, nosey people, explaining my reason and awaited contact that never came. Several days later I was contacted by some-one enquiring after the shop, who it quickly became apparent, was the person who had been the interested party. I learned that she (allegedly) had been mis-informed about turnover and customer data and had been told that the hairdressers would shortly be closed, regardless. It was over 2months before I sold the shop fittings and then I sent a termination letter to the old tenant. The following week I signed a new lease with the new one. I never ever did hear from the old tenant. Sometime later, I had a debt agency chase the debt and after several changes of address and realising what a waste of time debt agencies are I opened a small claims case against her for 2 quarters of rent plus the decoration invoice plus lock costs and years of interest. She is counter suing me for unlawfully changing the locks and costing her the business. She says she was forced into an IVA soon after she lost the salon. She has changed the lock-out date and says she does not owe the full second quarters rent even though it was due before the restraint of goods. She is claiming for fitting out what was an empty unit to become a hair salon, for stock, interest and damages/ compensation. Her lease was full repairing with 4 years to run. Mmmm, Where do I begin with questions? I have done a lot of home work and feel I have done things correctly, though there is always some doubting ones actions, especially when the defendant claims she would never have made a claim at all had I not done so first. She has admitted however that she did just ignore communication and just walked away once her goods were restrained. Due in court in the near v/future and would very much appreciate your overview. Very many thanks and keep up the good work.

By Angela on May 11th, 2014

Hi, the landlord of a business premises I rent out wants to charge me £1300 for painting the back wall of the building which is only about 5 square meters. When I told him I can do it myself he refused and got angry..Can you please advice me on what I can do or what are my rights as I think this is a ridiculous price he wants me to pay..

By Nasser on May 15th, 2014

Hi there,
My dispute is with the council and not the landlord I hope you will be able to help. I rented a shop with a friend of mine whose name has been mentioned on the lease on October 2012 for a term of 3 years. After 5 months, one night the shop was raided by 3 masked men carrying long knives. I was lucky that I was in the shop and could manage the situation, they took the till and ran away. we decided to stay in the shop and keep the door locked but it did not work. we had a neighbouring shop and when we spoke to them we found out that this has happened for them a few times as well. Our shop was a Sushi takeaway and most of the nights I was taking the last delivery while my wife was doing the clean up. when doing the last delivery I was always thinking if these men attack the shop right now while my wife is alone there what will happen, if they stab her who is going to be responsible? All these thoughts brought me to the conclusion that doing business in such a dangerous place is not worth it. I had not no obligation by the landlord to evacuate the premises unless a written letter so I wrote a letter to him and mentioned that I will move out at the end of the month, he called me and asked for the keys which I sent him. I wrote to the council as well sending them the police emails and letters. now the council is sending me letters for the business rates and have sent me court letters which I will attend. the council only knows me responsible and has nothing to do with my business partner who does not answer my phone calls. safety is the most important factor in a business without that a business can never progress. I have been in the business only for 5 months and lost about £5000 due to the unwilling closure of the business, please help me to find a way to convince the council.

By Sajid on May 15th, 2014

Your site is the best I have problem of renewal of my shop leese with in the act 1954 My landlord want to exclude this act from my new leese so I’m would like to share my problem with if you allow me

By David on May 16th, 2014

Sajid – we would certainly be able to assist. It would seem as though you need advice as to whether or not your new lease is a renewal under the Act or a new lease. Please feel free to get on touch with any of our time on 01772 258321

By S jones on May 17th, 2014

We ran into financial problems shortly after taking on a 10 year lease , after having a few issues with the landlord regarding us subletting part of the warehouse I have one ended up owing 30k in rent and I can’t afford to pay it, the landlord said I have until next week to pay or he will take out an injuction , what does this mean ? Thanks

By Paul on May 20th, 2014

Hi, could I please ask for your advise;

If I am made bankrupt would I lose the lease on my hiotel? The debt is historic and not associated with the business at all, the hotel is also our family home for myself wife and disabled daughter and the living accom has been modified for her needs. The hotel doesn’t make much profit but we live and work hard to provide – the hotel is in my name and we are three years into a ten year lease .
Thank you

By Holly Clayton-Smith on May 20th, 2014

Hi Laura

Thank you for your query.

In the absence of a written lease you will have no right to unilaterally impose a new rent. If you are looking to increase the rent, the correct procedure would be to serve a section 25 notice on the tenant, not opposing renewal of the tenancy but instead seeking a new tenancy on different terms and then negotiate a new rent as one of the terms of the new tenancy. The tenant is not bound to accept your proposed terms and they are merely suggestions as a basis for negotiations. In the event of disagreement, ultimately the court would settle the terms of any new tenancy.

Please get in touch if you have require any further assistance.

Kind regards

Holly

By Holly Clayton-Smith on May 20th, 2014

Hi David

Yes unfortunately, as you have signed the lease, you will be bound by its terms regardless of any terms that you may have verbally agreed prior to entering into the lease.

Kind regards

Holly

By ann on May 22nd, 2014

I have fish and chip shop and the landlord ownes hundreds of properties across the UK. When this shop was bought the current owners declared bankruptcy (which we were unaware off) and the solicitor was unable to pick this information up as it was being declared as the sale of the shop was going through. Anyway we ended up buying a shop which was not taking as much money as we thought it was. We are not struggling to pay the rent and the shop has been advertised for sale. We paid £90K for the business and dont want to hand the premises back to the landlord as we would lose our 90K but on the other hand we are having to lend money from members of our family just to make rent payments. Is there anything you can suggest?

By A.Smith on May 23rd, 2014

Hi,

I am a tenant of a commercial property and it has become apparent that there is a structural problem with the floor. Am I liable for the cost of the repairs even though this is not an ‘overnight occurrence’?

It has recently come to light that 10years ago the road next to the property collapsed due to a collapsed drainage system and the buildings were built on an old landfill site.

I believe my Solicitor should have brought these issues to my attention at the time of his searches so I could have made an informed decision as to whether to proceed.

The Landlord did not provide me with an inventory but I did my own with photographs.

Please can you advise on the best course of action? I fear this could run into thousands which if I’m liable will put my business under.

By Carol Crawford on May 30th, 2014

I have a commercial lease. I paid the new asking rent when it came to the end of my old lease but the landlord insisted I signed a rolling contract with a landlord only option to determine and put it outside the act. Is he allowed to actively market the property while I’m a tenant? The quiet enjoyment section states it is for the full term of the lease.

By Ally on May 31st, 2014

I hope very much you can help me. I had until recently a 3 year commercial lease. 6 months before the lease was due to expire the landlord advised me that he did not want to renew the lease for reasons known to him. The lease ended, and I had no alternative but to close my small business. I will be honest, my relationship with the landlord was not good as he would not invest in structual repairs to his premises and made my life a misery if I was so much as a day late with the rent. In a nutshell he was a money man. Once my business had closed my accountant went through my book work to properly close down my accounts and highlighted the 3 years building insurance I had paid out for each of the years tenancy were infact quotations and not actual insurance policies and that I should obtain actual proof of payments. My contract stated that it was up to me to pay the landlord who would insure the premises and that once a year he would provide the necessary proof that the premises had been insured. I wrote to the landlord’s solicitor (who produced the contract)and asked if the landlord could provide the insurance policies. Sometime later they wrote back saying their client had already provided them, and that I did not pay the 3rd years so it was irrelevant and that their client would not incur any further costs. I wrote to them again, stating that what the landlord had provided me with was quotes and not actual policies or proof of payments, and told them that their client could continue to incur costs until he had completed the obligations of his contract, reminding the solicitor, that it was they who produced the contract which I was asked to pay a proportion of the fee, but ended up paying the entire bill to the tune of £300, so in my view the solicitor should be ensuring that their client adheres to the contract. I gave the solicitors over two weeks to provide this paperwork, but they have simply ignored me. With regards to the 3rd years insurance, I paid this in cash and the landlord signed my paying book. However, a few weeks after my business closed, when I went to remove my belongings, my paying in book had been removed along with my works mobile phone. I advised the landlord’s solicitor of this too in my final letter to them. At the end of the day, the belongings that were removed from my business is theft, and if the landlord did not insure the premises for each of the 3 years I was there then this as well as being a breach of contract is fraud. I hope what I have said here makes sense and you can point me in the right direction to someone who can help me get the paperwork I need, or prove otherwise that the landlord pocked my insurance money and did not insure the premises, unfortunately I am now out of work with little money and cant afford solicitors fees.
Finally, is there an organisation that you can complain to about a solicitor as I wish to write a strong letter of complaint about my landlords solicitor who have lied to me, messed me about, and then totally ignored me when I have raised some very serious issues regarding their client? Thank you for taking the time to read this. Ally.

By Gary Phillis on June 1st, 2014

Hi
A very informative blog site. I have a question
About 3 years ago I was approached by my brother who was in dire financial straits and was in danger of losing his premises and livelihood. The premises in question is a former car showroom with garages and buildings. Most were dilapidated and he was struggling to meet his financial obligations. My son and I agreed to come on board and we drew up a partnership agreement between the 3 of us with the premises the subject of this and that the premises would become equal shares between the three of us one third each (we did this collectively and had it signed by all of us and witnessed by an independent person it was not done by solicitors). With this I set about bringing the mortgage up to date and myself and my son invested heavily in the site refurbishing the buildings. My son proceeded to occupy some of the outer buildings and I one of the garage premises and more recently one of the retail units I have created with my own money.
October last year my self and my brother fell out and the situation has gone from bad to worse even though I have tried to bring about an amicable solution. My brother set up on site in one of the other units doing exactly the same as me and set about verbally and written trying to discredit myself and my business. This has had a disastrous effect on my business. He has fallen behind with the mortgage payments and rates etc. My son and I due to his stance withdrew our financial support. He is now claiming rent arrears from myself and my son claiming we are tenants. There is only the partnership agreement in place there is no lease or licence agreements in place at all. My son and I have invested in excess of £130K in the premises. My question is what is the legal standpoint does he have a legal right to claim rent given the partnership agreement and if so do we have a right of ‘offset monies’ given the level of our investment
Regards
Gary Phillis

By Phil on June 4th, 2014

Hi,
I have a 7 year commercial tenancy. Does it need to be witnessed as it’s over 3 years, and if it isn’t can this invalidate the tenancy?
Regards,
Phil

By Laura on June 8th, 2014

Hi we have a lease of a pub with Enterprise inns in the name of the company and have given personal guarantees. We have been hit badly by the recession and are in a CVA but it looks unlikely that we will be able to meet all our debts falling due in the next few months. We are already about 3 weeks behind on our rent. The lease provides that the landlord can require the guarantors to enter a new lease if the lease is forfeited.
What will happen if the company goes into administration?

If the landlord forfeits the lease, what can it pursue us for under the personal guarantees? What if we refuse to enter a new lease?

Also, we live in the flat above the pub, so surely they can’t just change the locks and lock us out?
Thanks
Laura

By Jessica Boshoff on June 10th, 2014

I am currently leasing a premises on a 3 year term which started in Dec 2013 so I still have quite a term left howver I have chosen to give notice to cancel my lease as I am not making ends meeting an going weeks without a sale in the store. I am three months behind on my rent. I was asked by the leasing manager to please keep trading until they can find a suitable tenant to take over . I have been trading now for a extra 3 weeks but simply cannot afford to come here anymore as there are no sales and Its costing me money just to keep the store open. On Saturday I sent the landlord a email stating I will be starting to move out this week so he replied an said I may no remove any of my stock. The problem with this is the stock is not fully paid for iand I need to send it back to my supplier. Is this allowed. I have made an appointment with an attorney for some legal advice as I simply don’t know a way out. They have instructed security to watch my every move an I cannot move anything . I am stuck between a rock and a hard place here. Please help.

By Angela on June 14th, 2014

I have been renting a commercial property for 12 years And have recently asked the landlady again if she would consider replacing the 2 front windows. The glass has been failing for years which she was aware of but now looks really unsightly. She says I am responsible for the windows. Is realise I am responsible for maintaining and cleaning the windows but surely not responsible for replacing them. Could you advise, many thanks

By Bryan on July 30th, 2014

Hi I have a tenant who moved in 5 months ago to a commercial property I have spent the last 3 months trying to get rent from the tennis but in 5 months nothing he has arranged to come and see me on 6 separate occasions and not turned up the water and electric are in my name as he has failed to transfer them running up bills in my name. The tenant will only communicate by text but lately won’t even reply to those. Do I have the right to disconnect the water & electric supply as these bills are running up daily and terminate the lease.
Thanks Bryan

By Ian Moore on August 4th, 2014

Hello.
Our landlord has put a new chain & lock on the gate so we cannot access our office car park/site.
He has not interfered with any of the locks but denied us access to the offices!
We are late with our rent payments.
Is this a breach of contract?
He has said we cannot have access until the arrears are brought up to date.
Thank you for your advise in advance.
Regards,
Ian Moore.
01977604728/07725867774
imoore@stclementscareuk.com

By stephen on August 5th, 2014

Hi,
we had a commercial lease assigned to us in 2006 that expired in april 2011. during this term we got in to arrears in the region of 30,000. In 2009 we signed a new lease to run from april 2011 until april 2014. during this second term we paid all rent.
The lease was not renewed, we left. we have now received a statutory demand for rent arrears that were from the first period but listed in the statutory demand as arrears from the second period.
our landlord made a joint application with us to improve the business and received 125,000 for specifically our business, then told us he had given it back, we found out a year later he had kept it. he was requested to hand it back, from gov department. two of his farming neighbours commited fraud for larger sums of money and an aent a friend was investigated for fraud. this lead to a parliamentary investigation that was upheld in our favour. now we find he is trying to bankrupt us. is the original tenant that assigned the original lease to us responsible for arrears. any help appreciated.
stephen

By Anthony Fay on August 7th, 2014

Hi
I have a very similar case to Liz 10th April 2009,
were I am being denied access to remove my belongings
in levy of rent owed £1500. its been over 15 weeks
now and still no entry to remove my stuff.I have no
written contract or lease, I am also still being
charged rent for the months I’ve been denied access
and when I asked for a more detailed invoice of
monies owed he said the figure of £1500 has now
increased up to at least £2500.and this has to be paid
before any access is granted or any of my items are
removed. can you help?
Anthony Fay

By Jas on August 14th, 2014

Hi

We bought a fish and chip shop and took on a commercial lease 3 years ago and it had 21 years left on it, the lease is in mine and my husbands name, the business is trading as a limited company, we are struggling with the business, as it is just making ends meet. I am worried we bought the goodwill and business, which we paid £75,000 and now are advertising to sell at £49,000, still no interested buyer, I have 2 problems, if we do find a buyer even at a loss, and the new tenant gets into financial trouble, the rent will default to us, how can we get out of this, the landlord made us take out the lease in both our names, our house is in joint names, can he first of all charge us for rent arrears for the new tenant and secondly can he take charge of our personal property or belongings? The previous tenant sold us the shop and we found it was not making money as he had confirmed. If we did not pay the rent would the rent arrears default to him and what if he cannot be found?

By Alan on August 15th, 2014

Hi,

Hope you can help. Ran a franchise until end Jan 2014, from leased premises on a 10 yr lease expiring in 2018. Franchisor terminated agreement and sold goodwill to new Franchisee who took occupation of premises and started to pay rent and trade from there. Now they have decided to move out. Am I now liable for rent again? No transfer of lease occurred from us to them. Thanks

By Sarah Jane on August 20th, 2014

Hi, thankyou for providing such an informative and helpful blog :-) I took on a 3 year commercial lease which ends middle of March 2015. The business premesis were sold to me by extolling the supposed high footfall all year round the sole purpose for my interest. This has turned out to be completely untrue and shops
around me have now closed one after another.They all belong to the same landlord. Our original landlord died last boxing day and the shopping centre got bought by new owners.We have now been charged higher service charges than before and vat charges even though none of us are vat registered. My business has been struggling since the first inset there. The rent is too high for the footfall. I have been in frequent email cimmunication first with the original landlord, then with the current ones. I owe arrears from last Oct but the landlords will not reduce my rent or talk about payment plans. I have vacated the premeses in order to keep bills as low as possible and I was then threatened with bailiffs… I now wish I had stayed as if bayliffs had come I’d have been released from future payments of rent. I now have no shop and no way of paying my rent or arrears. I am a soul trader who rents her home. I have a small amount of stock which I could take back to the shop for bailiffs to seize which may reduce my debt?I just want an end to this problem. I have some sales from my website, but they are pretty irregular and low. The landlords insist I am liable to the end if my lease but because of their threatening and non helpful manner and due to my intense emotional upset caused by this,I felt I had no choice but to vacate the shop. Should I go back to the shop to open again, as the landlords changed their tune when they found I had vacated and started talking about possible payment plans ans staying in the shop open over peak season. I just don’t know what to do. Your help is most sincerely appreciated and if you could act for me in this matter could you give me quote? Very best regards, Sarah Jane

By Catherine on August 21st, 2014

after moving into our commercial office and yard the yd area became waterlogged as there isn’t sufficient drainage therefore making the area unfit for purpose can we make the landlord sort the problem

By J. P. on August 28th, 2014

My Partner has leased his premises for over 10 years. When he first took over the premises it was just a property in great disrepair that needed a lot of work over the years and with no help from the landlord( even though there has been a need for many repairs in this period after flooding and such like and assistance was requested) At some point and I am not sure about the time the landlord agreed that my partner could put the lease in his then partners name which it still is. Currently my partners premises operate as a small restaurant and bar as he obtained a licence and late licence for the premises The premises above are now after years of being empty are being renovated for restaurant purposes and the Landlord is stating that my partner has arrears, after doing the paperwork my partner cannot match the amount of arrears they are saying he owes to the payments he has made and when he has requested to speak to them face to face they will not.

He has had an eviction notice in relation to the outstanding amount (The lease is still in the name of his previous partner) and has only had e-mail correspondence he is adamant that he does not have arrears to the amount that they are stating is happy to pay what he truly owes and has also mentioned to them the amount of money he has put in to repair the premises, they have never responded to these requests no monetary assistance was ever provided and letters were sent to request this be reflected in his rent. He feels that he is being blackmailed and that even if he pays the said amount they still will not renew the lease as having a restaurant above makes his premises more lucrative to them. Money has been placed in his business overtime and it has been very slow so he does not have the money for a solicitor at this point any assistance you can offer would be most heartfelt and gratefully received.

By gary creed on September 1st, 2014

Hi
I rent a shop in bath from the council on a tenancy at will they now want the shop back we have been there for
16 years have we got any rights has we have been there so long.
we have refused to go so they sent a bill for over £100,000 for upkeep of building are they trying to scare
us out of the shop? as when we took on the shop it was in a right state. hope you can help. regards Gary.

By Emma on September 4th, 2014

Hello, I subletted a room from a large gym in London to run my colonic hydrotherapy business from. Whilst I was in London I suffered a breakdown for many reason and did not go into work, (I was self employed). I had roughly £2500 worth of items in my room from medical equipment to supplies and also personal items. I also spent nearly £3000 renovating the room. I had about 3 months of rent arrears and when I contacted the company to retrieve all my things from the room, they would not let me because of the arrears. is this legal? I did have a basic rental contract agreement and Im not sure if this falls under commercial or private as it was just a “room” but within a commercial premises for my business use. Shortly after I left they rented the room that I renovated to someone else with all my things in it. I would like to sue them for my belongings. Would I have a case.
Thank you Very Much
Emma

By jh on September 11th, 2014

HI – I am entering in to a lease very soon and have just been informed that the current tenant will be taking ALL fixture and fittings but not take down the front sign of the shop. What is ‘standard’ for a current tenant? Does it fall on the new tenant to take the old sign down (doesn’t seem logical to me). Many thanks

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