The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – commercial

Rates – empty

Since April 2008, unoccupied business premises no longer get the empty rates benefits that they previously enjoyed. Now, unoccupied commercial premises (eg retail or office) get a three-month exemption and then have to pay 100% rates (previously it was a three-month exemption, and then 50%).

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Covenants – third parties ‘benefit’

The Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 has proved to be a damp squib. Whilst it is an Act of enormous potential it has largely been killed off at birth by standard contractual clauses that exclude it from applying.

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Parking – regs

As the number of vehicles increases each year, so the pressure on parking spaces grows. To what extent can L alter or change the parking arrangements, by introducing new parking regs for Ts?

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SDLT – holding over

When a business lease expires, T will often remain in occupation whilst the new lease is being negotiated. But, many Ts do not appreciate that there may be an SDLT liability during this holding-over period.

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Insurance – fitting-out

There can be insurance complications when T is doing fitting-out works to part of an existing building. For instance, suppose T has taken a lease of a floor in a large office block, and is about to enter into a Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) contract for the fitting-out works, which will involve some works to structural parts of the building.

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Serviced offices – exclusion clause

The CA has upheld the validity of a wide-ranging exclusion clause in serviced office contracts offered by Regus:

‘We will not in any circumstances have any liability for loss of business, loss of profits, loss of anticipated savings, loss of or damage to data, third-party claims or any consequential loss.’
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Lease renewal – no Pt 36 counter-offer!

An L who is involved in LTA 1954 lease renewal negotiations should avoid becoming involved in the pitfalls of CPR Pt 36.

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Guarantee – pitfall

An assignment of a lease can lead to a long guarantee obligation for the assignor. If a post-1995 Act lease is assigned, the assignor may become a guarantor by virtue of entering into an Authorised Guarantee Agreement (AGA) if required by the lease.

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Disclaimer – summary

When can an insolvent T disclaim its lease? The answer is that only a liquidator or trustee in bankruptcy can disclaim a lease. Thus, disclaimer does not apply if T is in administration, if a receiver has been appointed, or if there is a voluntary arrangement.

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Double value – double rent

Do not confuse ‘double value’ with ‘double rent’. The entitlement to either can arise under 1730’s(!) legislation:

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