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Do I really need legal advice before signing a Commercial Lease?

We often receive enquiries from prospective Tenants looking to enter into a Lease for commercial premises. Whether or not the Tenant must receive legal advice often crops up. In short, the answer is no. However, entering into a Lease with a Landlord without taking any form of advice is very risky.

What is included in a commercial lease?

An average commercial Lease can range from 25 to 50 pages of clauses which have been prepared by the Landlord’s Solicitor and are essentially designed to protect the Landlord’s property from the actions of the Tenant during the Lease. The terms can be onerous and are often complex to understand.

If a Lease is for a term of 7 years or more, then there is a requirement to submit a stamp duty return to HMRC (stamp duty is sometimes payable based on the rent for a commercial property), and there is also a requirement to submit the Lease for registration at HMLR. Aside from these instances, there is no actual legal obligation to be represented when taking a commercial Lease. However, you effectively enter into the agreement and accept the terms of the lease, whether or not you understand them.

What could happen if I don’t seek legal advice for my commercial lease?

We often see clients who didn’t realise that they are obligated to maintain and repair a property and return it to a Landlord in no worse condition than at the start of the Lease. We have seen clients who didn’t appreciate that they had guaranteed their limited Company to the Landlord. Sometimes Tenants don’t realise that they have to pay a service charge in addition to the rent or a contribution to the Landlord’s Insurance.

These are all matters that we advise prospective Tenants on and in addition to negotiating the terms of the Lease with the Landlord to make them fairer for our clients.

If you would like to discuss a commercial lease or require further information, please email Chris Parker.


About the author

Chris Parker

Chris is a Director and Head of the Property Department. He advises both regional and national companies on various aspects of Commercial Property. 

TMJ Legal Services

TMJ Legal Services has been helping individuals and businesses since 1986. We offer a range of advice and services. 

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