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As a business looking to lease commercial property, it is crucial that you consult a leasing lawyer before you enter into a lease. However, you may be unsure of what you should ask your lawyer. This article will outline some of the questions that you should raise with a leasing lawyer to ensure that you are well-informed before entering into a commercial lease. 

1. What Are My Obligations?

One of the most important questions to ask your leasing lawyer should concern your obligations as a commercial tenant. Your lawyer will be able to articulate what these obligations are and what your business will have to do to comply with them. These obligations will likely involve:

  • maintaining your leased premises in a clean and orderly state; 
  • repairing any damage done to the interior of your premises;
  • insuring the interior of your premises and your business’ assets; 
  • restoring your premises to its original condition when your lease ends; and
  • paying your landlord’s solicitor costs.

There may be certain obligations, such as paying your landlord’s solicitors fees, that you disagree with. Your leasing lawyer will be able to negotiate with your landlord to amend these obligations or remove them from your lease.

2. What Are My Landlord’s Obligations?

It is useful to ask your lawyer about your landlord’s obligations under your rental agreement. If your landlord fails to uphold these obligations during your tenancy, you will likely be entitled to compensation or reduced rent. These obligations will include:

  • eliminating or minimising any risks to your health and safety; 
  • upholding your right to exclusive possession of the premises; 
  • insuring your commercial building against damage as a result of natural disasters, such as earthquakes; and
  • maintaining and repairing the exterior of your premises. 

Knowing these obligations will further inform what you have to do under your lease.

For example, once you are aware of the extent of your landlord’s insurance, you will be able to make an informed decision as to the insurance your business should take out. 

3. What Costs Will I Have to Pay?

You should inquire about the costs that your landlord will expect you to pay under your lease. These costs will include your rent and outgoings. Outgoings are day-to-day expenses that your business must pay on top of your rent. It is useful to be completely aware of the costs you will have to pay. These costs may be too expensive and dissuade you from entering into that particular lease. 

4. How Long Will My Lease Last For?

Your leasing lawyer should inform you of the term of your lease. If your lease is for a length that does not suit your business, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a change with your landlord. 

You should also inquire whether the lease provides you with a right of renewal. A right of renewal allows you to enter into a new lease with your landlord when your lease is due to expire. You do so by following a procedure laid out in your lease which usually requires providing written notice of the renewal to your landlord. You must ask your lawyer what this procedure is. Doing so will ensure that you are aware of how and when you can renew your lease. 

5. Can My Landlord Change My Rent?

You should inquire about whether your landlord can change the cost of your rent. This ability to change the cost of rent to ensure that your commercial premises reflect their current market value is allowed through a rent review clause. Your leasing lawyer will be able to inform you:

  • what method of rent review your landlord will use;
  • when the rent review will occur; and
  • whether you can negotiate any changes to the rent review clause to ensure it is as favourable as possible.

6. Can I Assign or Sublease My Premises?

Your leasing lawyer will be able to inform you on whether you can assign your lease or sublease your premises. If you are unable to assign or sublease under the current lease agreement, your leasing lawyer may be able to negotiate with your landlord to allow you to do so. 

7. How Can I Cancel My Lease?

It is also useful to inquire on how you can cancel the lease. You will be able to cancel your lease:

  • by entering into an agreement with your landlord to terminate the lease; or
  • if your premises have become untenantable.

However, your leasing lawyer can also tell you whether your lease contains an early termination clause. Such a clause will detail the procedure that you should follow if you wish to terminate your lease before it expires.

8. Can My Landlord Cancel My Lease?

Your leasing lawyer will be able to tell you the grounds on which your landlord can terminate your lease. This information is essential as it ensures that you know what you have to do, or not do, to avoid eviction from your premises. 

Key Takeaways

Leasing commercial premises for your business is an exciting venture. However, it is crucial that you are well-informed of the contents of your lease agreement before entering into it. A leasing lawyer will be able to inform you of the contents of your lease and assist in any negotiations to change clauses or obligations that you disagree with. If you need a leasing lawyer, contact LegalVision’s property and leasing lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a leasing lawyer do?

A leasing lawyer can inform you of the contents of your lease agreement and act on your behalf in negotiations to change clauses that you disagree with. 

Do you need a lawyer to write a lease agreement?

It is best practice to have a lawyer read through your lease agreement before you enter into it. 

What questions should I ask a leasing lawyer? 

You should ask a leasing lawyer questions about: you and your landlord’s obligations, the costs you will have to pay under the lease, the length of your lease and whether you have a right of renewal, whether your landlord can change your price of rent, assigning or subletting your premises and the grounds on which you or your landlord can cancel your lease.

Do I have to pay my landlord’s legal fees? 

Your lease may contain a provision that requires you to pay your landlord’s legal fees. A leasing lawyer will be able to negotiate with your landlord to remove this provision from your lease.

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