Know Your Rights and Obligations When Leasing Commercial Property

commercial lease signing

Leasing space for your business is different than renting a home. Not only are the terms of the lease different, your rights and obligations as the commercial tenant are different. It’s important to know what your rights are before you sign for a commercial lease. You’ll also want to know what your obligations will include as a tenant of a commercial property. They may end up increasing your operational expenses and affect the type of property you want to lease.

What Are Your Rights as a Commercial Tenant?

Leasing agreements vary from location to location. However, there are some general rights that most commercial leaseholders can count on:

– You have the right to remain in the property throughout the term of the lease. Your landlord cannot ask you to leave the property because they feel like it or have a better offer from someone else. However, they can ask you to leave if you aren’t paying your rent or if you aren’t maintaining the property per the terms of your leasing agreement.

– You have the right to extend your lease. A commercial tenant has the right to continue operating in their space after the terms of the lease end. The lease will automatically renew until the landlord moves to terminate it. Tenants may also appeal to the courts to renew their lease if the landlord doesn’t wish to do so.

You can learn more about your rights as a commercial tenant at Gov.UK [1].

What Are Your Obligations as a Commercial Tenant?

Commercial tenants have many more obligations than residential tenants. In fact, many of the things that residential landlords must provide come down to the business itself under commercial leasing law. Commercial tenant obligations, as listed on Gov.UK [2], include:

– Providing the utilities and appropriate facilities. This includes drinking water, reasonable internal temperatures, lighting, and toilets.

– Carrying out health and safety assessments. This will include fire, electrical, and gas safety. If you need to take measures to ensure occupant safety, that’s normally down to the business leasing the property.

Additionally, it’s important to note that when you lease a commercial space, you are almost certainly leasing it as-is. That means it’s up to the business to ensure the property is sound and suitable for their needs. Otherwise, the business may end up paying for the duration of the lease on a property they can’t actually use. Business owners should speak to a solicitor before signing a commercial lease. This ensures the appropriate checks happen on the property before you sign on the dotted line.

Where to Get Advice if You Have a Leasing Dispute

It’s vital that before you sign a lease for a commercial property, you thoroughly read the leasing agreement. This will lay out the rights and obligations of both you and your landlord. Most disputes come down to what’s included in the terms of the contract. If it’s in there, there is a good chance you’ll need to adhere to it and your claim won’t stand up in court.

However, it’s a good idea not to make any assumptions about your leasing agreement, either. If you are unsure about something, even if you’ve already signed the contract, speak to an experienced commercial real estate solicitor. They’ll be able to advise you on the legality of your leasing agreement and whether you have a valid claim. Your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau [3] may be able to help, as well, by providing you with some free advice or connecting you to local services.

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