For both landlords and tenants, the success of your investment or business can rely heavily on the suitability of your commercial property. Our team of expert lawyers can help you navigate the complex world of leasing commercial property while protecting your financial interests and promoting your business goals.
We work in partnership with individuals and businesses across the UK, including sole traders, start-ups, SMEs, regional and national companies, with a focus on helping clients run their businesses efficiently and effectively.
A strong commercial lease will regulate your relationship with your landlord or tenant, so negotiating terms that work in your favour is essential. We have extensive experience advising both, so we can provide a unique perspective on negotiations and help you secure terms that are in your best interests.
Our commercial lease solicitors’ expertise
We have a broad range of experience providing commercial lease advice to clients across the country, particularly London and the East Midlands. Our expertise includes:
- Preparing and negotiating heads of terms
- Drafting and reviewing new commercial leases
- Commercial lease variation
- Rent deposit deeds
- Lease extensions
- Lease renewals
- Rent reviews
- Maintenance, repairs and dilapidations
- Licences for alterations
- Commercial lease disputes, including repossession
Commercial tenancy agreements
A robust lease agreement is essential to regulate the relationship between commercial landlord and tenant. Whether the property is retail or leisure space, an office building, or industrial land, the lease needs to cover issues such as:
- The tenancy term – how long the tenant is entitled to occupy the property
- The rent payable
- The service charges payable (if any) for things like security and building maintenance
- The rights and obligations of both parties
- Rent review clauses
- Lease renewal clauses
- Terms on alterations and repairs
- Break clauses
Our commercial lease lawyers can help you negotiate terms that work for your business purposes, ensuring your legal rights are carefully preserved and understood by all parties involved.
Commercial property landlord advice
Commercial property can be lucrative, although it tends to be more hands-on than other types of investment. Whether you are leasing business premises, you are in the buy-to-let market, or the property is mixed-use, we can provide expert advice on your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.
We offer an inclusive service that covers all aspects of drafting, reviewing and enforcing lease agreements, from negotiating terms that suit your business needs, to supporting you in fulfilling your legal duties, to exercising your legal property rights to retake possession if needed.
Commercial property tenant advice
Your premises is likely to be one of your business’s largest expenses, so it is absolutely critical to secure a lease that favours your commercial interests.
As well as working through a general checklist of the matters you must be aware of when entering into a commercial lease, we will tailor our advice specifically to suit your needs.
We are highly experienced in helping tenants promote opportunities and manage risk as part of their commercial leasing activities. Our expertise includes advising on health and safety responsibilities and issues such as:
- Fire safety
- Structural safety
- Fixture and fittings safety
We can provide advice about repairs and maintenance clauses and your responsibility for repairs upon moving out of the premises, including advising on dilapidations claims.
We can also provide advice on things like:
- Your right to renew the lease
- Your landlord’s rent review procedure
- Ending a commercial tenancy, such as use of break clauses
- Commercial lease disputes, including defending repossession claims
Ending a commercial tenancy
If you need your commercial property back for any reason, whether your tenant has stopped paying rent or you need to sell it, you have a number of options available, including:
- Break clauses – these terms will sometimes allow you to end the lease before the term is up. The lease will set out the exact way you must exercise the break clause for it to be valid.
- Negotiating an early end – if your tenant agrees to leave, you can surrender the lease before the end of the term. It is always best to get this agreement in writing
- Forfeiture – this process allows you to terminate a commercial tenancy if the tenant breaches the lease and there is a specific clause in the lease allowing you to do so. There is a strict legal process to forfeit a lease and the tenant could also apply for relief to stop you
Landlords should also be aware that the tenant may have an automatic right to renew the lease at the end of the term. However, it is possible to exclude this right under the terms of the lease.
Your lease may include terms that will let you either end your commercial tenancy or otherwise leave the premises, such as:
- Break clauses – these terms will allow you and sometimes your landlord to end the lease before the term is up. Your lease will set out the exact way you must exercise the break clause for it to be valid
- Assignment – if you assign your lease to another party, they will take over the tenancy releasing you from your legal obligations under the agreement (although you may still be liable in certain circumstances, for example, if you guarantee the new tenant’s rent). Again, the terms of the lease will determine if and how you can assign your lease
- Subletting – if your lease allows you to sublet, you can find another tenant to occupy the premises in your place. The new tenant will have obligations under the sublease; however, you will still be the tenant under the original lease. This can cause issues if the new tenant fails to fulfil their responsibilities, such as to pay the rent on time
If all else fails, you can also try to negotiate an early end to the tenancy with your landlord. So long as you both agree to surrender the lease, you can be released from your obligations. However, always get this agreement in writing.
Do you need a solicitor for a commercial lease?
Both landlords and tenants can benefit from having the advice of a solicitor with specialist experience in the area of commercial leases.
It’s important to be very clear about your legal rights and obligations under the lease to minimise the risk of disputes and ensure any issues can be resolved quickly and without damaging your business interests. For example, without a clear arrangement regarding maintenance, dispute could arise about the extent of the tenant’s responsibility to make repairs. The resulting negotiations (and potentially litigation) could be very time-consuming and costly for both landlord and tenant.
Our goal is to help you avoid these risky scenarios and enter into a positive legal relationship where every parties’ role is clearly defined.
That being said, where issues do arise, an experienced commercial lease solicitor can also help you resolve matters swiftly and cost-effectively. In most cases, we’re able to settle positively long before it reaches court, saving individuals and businesses considerable amounts of time and money.
Why choose our commercial lease solicitors?
At Bird & Co, we have a wide range of knowledge and practical experience in matters relating to commercial leases. Based at 3 offices in Grantham, Newark and Lincoln, we attract clients from across the UK, particularly London and the East Midlands, for our expertise.
We specialise in online conveyancing to extend our reach to clients who want to utilise our services regardless of distance. We are Cyber Essentials certified meaning we can securely transfer legal documents online with no risk to your business.
Our team is led by Daniel Chard who has over 15 years’ experience handling high value and complex property transactions.
We aim make our services accessible for businesses at all stages of commercial growth and are happy to discuss flexible funding arrangements with you.
Our firm are members of the Law Society Lexcel Accreditation Scheme for our high standards of client care and legal practice management.
Bird & Co is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).