One of the areas of law that we deal with most at Linkilaw is to do with commercial property, and in particular, commercial property leases. It’s a particular concern of mine, the business owners get the best advice they can when they’re entering these leases, because, those tricky older landlords and agents are always going to try and load as much potential liability and risk in your direction as they can.
So, you need to negotiate from a position of some strength, so make sure you get some pre-lease advice. In particular, this recording is looking at dilapidations claim and how to minimise the risk and potential liability if you do have a full repairing term within your lease. Ideally, you don’t.
The first thing to consider is, you need to arrange a detailed schedule of condition. This will ensure that you’re only obliged to bring the property back to the condition that it was when you took, over. If you’ve got a lease of 10 years, it’s very difficult to remember specifically how it was, so make sure you have a detailed schedule in place when you move in.
Also, think about doing regular assessments of the condition of the property, and particular doing an assessment well in advance of leaving, perhaps 12 months. It will give you an idea and indication of the work and cost required. Also, related to that, make sure you’re leaving before the end of the tenancy so that you have enough time to get those repairs done and finished.
Finally, and this may be a little bit out of your control, negotiating in a weak market, the shrewd tenant can sometimes minimise if not remove a lot of these risks and liabilities, but, clearly you’re in a stronger position if it is a weaker market. Be aware of the market conditions in terms of your negotiation. The bottom line is, bring an expert onboard, and get them to help lead you through the lease negotiation process.