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Commercial lease solicitors in London

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 Instructing an experienced commercial lease solicitor will generally save you time and legal costs due to streamlining.  

If you need highly experienced advice on any commercial lease, whether drafting, negotiating, reviewing, renewing ,assigning or subletting, whether as Landlord or tenant, in London, get in touch for a discussion or quote.

Commercial lease legal advice in London

We deal with many types of transactions, including but not limited to:

  • Shop and retail leases
  • Restaurant leases
  • Pub leases
  • Industrial units
  • Office leases
  • Hotels
  • Cafes and sandwich bars
  • Mixed use commercial and residential properties

 Landlords – the most important considerations with commercial lease terms 

  • The chance of tenant default
  • Ease of re-letting if tenant defaults, and time taken to find new tenant.
  • Is security needed in the form of a personal guarantee?
  • Is mortgage lender consent required before agreeing a long commercial let?
  • Who will pay for repairs and other expenses?
  • Rent deposits and/or personal guarantee.
  • Whether to agree a break clause – if so, on both sides or tenant only?
  • Rent review period
  • Lease or licence?

Essentially a lease creates an interest in the property and a licence creates rights which are exercisable over the property.

The reason for determining one or the other is primarily that if the relationship is construed as a Lease then the provisions of the Landlord and tenant Act 1954 part II will apply. These provide security of tenure for the tenant and make provision for compensation if the landlord does not agree to the renewal of the lease at the end of the initial term and the rent that the Landlord can demand on the renewal.

The existing term can only be brought to an end by the use of the procedures and provisions contained in that Act. The tenant has a statutory right to a new lease. The grounds on which a landlord can refuse a new lease are limited to specific circumstances.

In the case of licences, they terminate on the date specified or agreed between the parties and in the absence of agreement by the giving of reasonable notice.

Some of the main factors which indicate the relationship to be a lease as apposed to a licence are matters such as:

  • Exclusive possession (specific area)
  • A covenant for quiet enjoyment
  • A long length of term and for a fixed term and a fixed rent.
  • The rent being exclusive of services or other property outgoings.
  • The right of entry or inspection or rights of way to the owner (Landlord)

Accordingly, by granting any Licence of more than 6 months to occupy for business purposes, owners will be exposing themselves to the risk that the occupier could claim a secure business tenancy. This may have implications for the owner’s medium or longer term plans for the premises (including its ability to redevelop or regain vacant possession of them).

It may be that some occupiers will ask to take a Licence rather than a Lease. Their reasons for doing so may include the following:

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax is not payable upon Licences, whereas it is often payable on Leases.
  • An occupier under a Licence does not normally have to pay business rates, whereas a tenant under a Lease does.
  • Licence format may also simply be more familiar to them.

However, owners should think carefully about such requests.

If you need solicitors for a new commercial lease or licence or an assignment, sub-letting or commercial lease dispute, we offer an experienced, practical and cost effective choice.

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