…people looking to trade in new premises often think they can sign a lease on the dotted line and pick up the keys and that little can go wrong.
Why get legal advice which will be expensive and take forever, the landlord seems like a good sort? Maybe, 2 years later, your business isn’t doing so well and you can’t get out of your lease. Or maybe the business is doing great but the premises aren’t big enough anymore.
The landlord said that it was normal to pay rent quarterly, but monthly would have eased cashflow. You didn’t think about the hidden extras that you have to budget for – your contribution towards repairs to the whole building is unlimited, you have to spend money putting your premises into a better state of repair when you leave than when you took them and you have to ‘strip-out your fit-out’, which will cost as much as the fit-out itself.
You can break the lease after two years – brilliant! But the conditions to it render it useless. You can transfer the lease to someone else – great! But you stay on the hook because you have to guarantee the incoming tenant. You can’t sublet unless your subtenant pays the same rent and in a depressed market, why would someone rent from you when they can get a cheaper unit down the road? The wording of the permitted use clause means that your incoming tenant can only use the premises for the same specific use as you…pretty unlikely.
The starting rent was reasonable but why will it stay the same when the market dips so that you’re paying 30% more than the going rate? If you’d asked for the landlord’s permission before signing about where to store your commercial waste, where to unload deliveries and where to park, would it have eased your business operation?
Your annual rent x the number of years in the lease = the minimum of what your outlay will be. When you look at it like that, the question is, why would you not get a solicitor to help you?
If you are worried that you may have entered into a lease in the past that has gone too far, please contact our Commercial Property team for advice.