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Commercial Property

Commercial Property

Business Law

Meet Jeremy Burke

Our Commercial Property team has a reputation for its technical excellence and our services are provided at all of our three offices in Ashford, Canterbury and Herne Bay.

We act for a wide variety of clients - property investment companies, commercial landlords and tenants, developers, banks and financial institutions as well as for organisations in the education, public and charitable sectors.

As a team we are diligent, down to earth, lawyers that work hard to understand your business and we tailor our advice to fulfil your commercial priorities. We build strong relationships with our clients based on trust and an open dialogue and, as a result, we have worked with many of our clients for a very long time.

We are specialists in our field of Commercial Property with experience in all of the technical aspects of Commercial Property transactions which we can relate to all types of commercial property. Whether we are dealing with acquisitions or disposals or commercial leases or secured lending – of bare land, hotels, restaurants, retail, warehousing, industrial parks, office blocks, community parks or whether we are acting on matters involving agricultural land and buildings – we can offer you a highly efficient service from negotiation of terms through to completing your transaction.

Working with developers

We assist developers through every stage of their development cycle from option agreement, site acquisition, refinance, through to the subsequent plot sales and the setting up of bespoke companies for the management of common parts. We also advise where a developer retains a site for the longer term – transferring property between group companies, granting and renewing long term or short term leases of business parks and residential premises, which leases may include rent reviews and provisions for dilapidations claims.

Working with agricultural clients

We advise our agricultural clients on buying and selling farms and agricultural land and buildings, providing the specialist legal drafting required for these transactions. We also offer our clients advice on farm diversification and effective succession planning.

Leases for landlords and tenants

Much of our work involves drafting agreements for leases, which calls for a high level of technical expertise and attention to detail. Our experienced team will help you navigate the potential pitfalls for a landlord or tenant on the grant of a commercial lease and will give you expert advice on the implication of clauses within the lease. We will also draft leases tailored to your specific circumstances in consideration of your commercial needs and requirements and offer you support through every stage of a transaction.

Secured lending

For transactions involving secured lending, we often act for borrowers as well as banks and other lenders whether advising on standard lending documentation or preparing bespoke legal documents.

Property disputes

Working with our Dispute Resolution team we can advise clients on the best way to resolve a property dispute and also advise on how to avoid or minimise the risk of disputes in the first place.

For further advice on any commercial property issue, please contact a member of our Commercial Property team based in Canterbury, Ashford and Herne Bay.

Our Commercial Property team are ranked in the Legal 500.

Uk leading firm 2023web

Our Experts

Jeremy Burke

Head of Department
Commercial Property

David Redgate

Partner
Commercial Property

Beth Norman

Associate (FCILEx)
Commercial Property

Simon Stempien

Partner
Commercial Property

Sophie Robins

Partner
Commercial Property

Usman Miah

Associate Solicitor
Commercial Property

Thomas Picknell

Assistant Solicitor
Commercial Property

Hannah Taggart

Paralegal
Commercial Property

Clare Taylor

Trainee Solicitor
Commercial Property

Lauren Jones

Assistant Solicitor
Commercial Property

Related Pages

RELATED CONTENT

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is an option agreement?

An option agreement is used to grant a potential purchaser an option as to whether or not to buy a premises and is an agreement entered into by the owner of property and potential purchaser. On entering the agreement, it is usual for a non-refundable sum to be paid to the owner in return for a legally binding option to purchase the property either within an agreed period of time or after a specified event.

For example, a developer may be interested in purchasing a plot of land to develop but does not want to commit to the purchase until planning permission is granted as the land will have little value without such consent.

This benefits the developer as he has peace of mind that the land will not be sold to someone else until the option expires. Equally, he can walk away from the purchase if he does not obtain the required planning permission. From the owner’s perspective, even if the developer does not go ahead with the purchase, he will usually be entitled to keep the option fee already paid.

What is an overage agreement?

An overage agreement is used in the buying and selling process where land is sold on the basis that if conditions specified within the agreement occur, the seller is entitled to an additional sum of money or an ‘overage payment’.

For example, a developer has purchased plot of land ‘A’ for which planning consent for development has already been granted. The developer now wishes to purchase a neighbouring plot of land ‘B’ for which planning permission is yet to be obtained.

However, the developer requires plot B, whether or not planning is granted, as in the absence of planning it will still be of use as access to Plot A. The developer will however be unwilling to purchase plot B for the same value if planning permission has not been granted as he would if planning had already been obtained. The owner will also be unwilling to sell plot B for the value of the land without planning, knowing of the possibility that planning permission will be granted in the near future, later increasing the value of the land.

One way to satisfy both parties is to enter an overage agreement whereby plot B is sold at the current value in the absence of planning permission with the condition that on the grant of planning permission, the developer must pay an agreed additional sum to reflect the increase in value of the land.

What is an assignment of a lease?

A tenant may, for commercial reasons, wish to leave commercial premises prior to the end date of a lease. One way of achieving this is to assign the benefit of the lease to a new tenant. Most commercial leases will contain a clause restricting the tenant’s ability to assign the lease. Frequently, assignments of part only of the premises will be prohibited but the lease will often allow the tenant to assign the whole of the lease subject to first obtaining the landlord’s consent.

The lease will often require the landlord to provide consent by way of a Licence to Assign for which the landlord will require payment of his legal fees. In addition, the landlord will often require the outgoing tenant to enter into what is known as an ‘authorised guarantee agreement' (AGA). Under the AGA the outgoing tenant will have to guarantee the obligations of the tenant to whom the lease is being assigned.

What should you consider for a farm succession plan?

You will need to consider the facts and ask important questions which could include:

  • Who owns the farm’s assets?
  • Who occupies the land and buildings and on what basis?
  • What does each member of the family want and need from the farm?
  • What is the long term strategic focus of the farm and its business?
  • What role does each member of the family play now and in the future?
  • Do the younger generation need training and support to develop the skills and experience to drive the business forward so that the older generation can take a step back?
  • Is all the necessary legal documentation in place, such as Wills, to protect the farm and its business?

Our advice will be tailored to suit your circumstances.

Why is legal assistance required with secured lending against commercial property?

Commercial lenders will often insist you obtain legal advice before signing up to secured lending for good reason. Without taking legal advice you may not realise that: you are breaking an existing loan or lease condition by taking a new loan or charging your property; a debenture charges all of the company’s assets; the charge is an all monies charge and acts as security for other loans you have with the same lender; there can be several triggers for repaying the loan some of which you were not aware of; you may need to prepare board minutes and resolutions. Whether you are the borrower or lender, it is important to ensure that all security documentation and ancillary documentation is executed with due diligence and all the necessary safeguards are in place. This is a complex process, often required within a tight deadline, which involves review of extensive technical documentation and sometimes changes or additions to the documentation to benefit you and your intended use of the funds.

Testimonials

We always feel that we receive the best advice and feel listened to. The quick responses to emails and phone calls are much appreciated. We highly recommend Girlings.
Legal 500
The team is comprised of lawyers of varied experiences and knowledge in various legal aspects, whose skills and resources are tapped into when needed. In my personal experience with Girlings, we have faced various particularities in our business (both in leasehold agreements, and freehold agreements, and various security demands) where the Girlings team has provided clarity and support throughout.
Legal 500
Great communication between departments. Straightforward language used so as not to alienate clients. Easy to get hold of. Feel as though the client’s needs are front and centre.
Legal 500
I have been dealing with Girlings for over 20 years now and have always found them to be reliable, efficient and trustworthy with a very personal approach to their clients.
Legal 500