Commercial Property Frequently Asked Questions - Landlords
We have a great deal of experience acting for landlords on commercial property matters and regularly advise the owners of commercial property on leases.
1. Can you buy a commercial property which is already occupied by a tenant?
Yes. Whether or not a property is occupied should be made clear in the sales material.You will need to ensure that you are fully aware of the status of the occupier and the terms of their occupation.You may be buying such a property as an investment, if, however, you wish to occupy the property for your own business you must have expert advice as to when that might be possible.
2. I have purchased a commercial property and I wish to rent it out. What terms should be included in the lease?
Our team of Commercial property solicitors can provide expert advice on what you might want to include in your lease. You should also consider appointing a commercial property surveyor to market the property, advise you on terms that are acceptable in the market and negotiate the broad terms of the lease.Once agreement has been reached with a prospective tenant we can produce a draft lease based on the agreed terms.
There are many factors to consider when negotiating a lease for example:
- Financial standing of the proposed tenant – should you be asking for a rental deposit or guarantor? A surveyor can obtain relevant references and advise accordingly
- Repair - if you are leasing the whole of the property to one tenant you will want, as far as possible, to make the tenant responsible for repair. However many tenants will not take on liability for disrepair which is already there and may require either that you carry out work to bring it up to standard or that their repair obligation is by reference to the condition the property is in at the start of the lease, so that they do not have to put the property in any better state and condition that it is when the lease starts. Evidence of condition would be recorded in a schedule of condition which is annexed to the lease.
- Use - many commercial properties are used as offices, factories or warehouses, what use is required by the proposed tenant, does the property have planning permission for that use?
- Statutory obligations – there are number of legal requirements that have to be complied with by commercial property owners and occupiers, the lease will set out who is responsible for what. This covers matters such as health and safety and environmental obligations.
- Lease of Part – if you have a building or an estate with more than one letting unit you will need to manage the common parts and charge a service charge to cover the costs.
3. Can the tenant alter my commercial property?
Changes that a tenant may wish to make range from painting and decorating to significant structural alterations. The lease will contain provisions which control what a tenant is able to do. It is usually a requirement to keep the property in good decorative order with colours and finishes towards the end of the lease approved by the landlord. Common alterations include the installation of partitions and minor structural alterations. Significant structural alterations are usually prohibited and would be the subject of specific negotiation if the tenant wished to carry them out.