Is a Solicitor Necessary When I’m Taking a Lease of a Property?

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Many businesses have premises that they operate from, for example, coffee shops, retail shops, and warehouses. The lease is the document which records the agreement between the Landlord and the Tenant. A lot can go wrong, if you don’t know what you are signing up for in a lease. If you are a tenant, a solicitor will do the following for you: –

  • Check the Landlord’s Land Registry title to the property and make sure that there aren’t any issues with it. For example, that the Landlord is the person who should be granting the lease, that there isn’t already a lease in place of the Property, and that there aren’t any restrictions which might prohibit you from being able to trade. Additionally, if the landlord has a mortgage over the property, your solicitor will obtain the lender’s consent to the lease. If these issues are not addressed, they can put your lease at risk.
  • Raise enquiries of the Landlord to ensure that there aren’t any issues which you ought to be aware of, for example, if there have been any notices served, which may affect your use of property.
  • If you are liable for Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”), your solicitor will submit the SDLT return to HMRC along with any monies due upon receipt from you. SDLT is payable on leases with a rent, or a premium payable over a certain threshold.
  • Register or make a note of the lease at the Land Registry. Leases of 7 years or more must be registered at the Land Registry. If your lease is for less than 7 years, the lease itself, or the rights granted by the lease, can be noted on the Landlord’s Land Registry title. This means that if the Landlord sells its interest in the property, or mortgages the property, the new owner, or lender will know about your lease and your interest in the property will be protected.
  • Review the draft lease and seek amendments to any onerous terms. Often leases drafted by Landlords are in their favour. For example, it is common to see in the first draft of a lease, an obligation on a Tenant to put the property in a better state of repair than it was at the commencement of the lease at their own expense. At the end of the term the Landlord can make what is known as a dilapidations claim. These can be very expensive and so a Tenant must know its position before entering into a lease.
  • Report to you on the terms of the agreed form of lease, so that you are aware of your obligations under the document.

It is important therefore to instruct a solicitor so that you know what you are signing up for. Our expert lawyers will guide you through the process.

At Bennett Griffin LLP, our property team are highly experienced. If you’d like assistance with your property lease get in touch with one of our team members by calling 01903 22999 or by emailing info@bennett-griffin.co.uk

Disclaimer: Please note that this update is not intended to be exhaustive or be a substitute for legal advice. The application of the law in this area will often depend upon the specific facts and you are advised to seek specific advice on any given scenario.