Commercial Property Q&A

I’ve received a commercial tenant’s application to assign a lease. I don’t like the sound of the proposed assignee can I simply ignore the request?

Statute prescribes that where landlord’s consent for an assignment is required a landlord must give consent unless it is unreasonable to do so and this must be done within a reasonable time. Case law has for several years suggested that reasonable time would be about 28 days however following a judgment in 2003 this could be as little as a week (if it would be unreasonable  to refuse consent). A property litigator can advise you as to whether you can properly withhold consent by considering the case law in light of the facts and checking the lease for whether there are any conditions to which Landlord’s consent to assign is subject.

I have an assured short hold tenancy. How much notice does my landlord have to give me to terminate occupation before issuing proceedings?

To end a short hold tenancy at the end of a fixed term using a section 21 notice,  2 months’ notice must be given on or before the end of the contractual term. The landlord cannot issue proceedings under section 21 until the fixed term is over.  If the AST has expired and now operates as a periodic tenancy at least 2 months must be given expiring on the last day of the tenancy. If the landlord serves a section 8 notice then there could be as little as no notice period, 14 days or 2 months depending on the grounds for termination cited.

I want to rent my commercial premises out but do not wish to grant the tenant rights offered by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to remain in the Premises upon termination of the Lease. What can I do?

You can serve on the proposed tenant a notice in the prescribed form containing a health warning which explains that the tenant will not have the benefit of security of tenure once the lease ends. Crucially the notice must be served before the lease is granted but also before the tenant becomes contractually bound to enter it e.g. agreement for lease (but after lease terms are agreed).

Depending on the notice period the tenant must either then sign a declaration or swear a statutory declaration in the prescribed form, confirming that the tenant understands the significance of what s/he is signing. The new lease must refer to the service of the Notice; the Declaration and the agreement to exclude the provisions of sections 24-28 of the Act.