The Practical Lawyer

Landlord and tenant – commercial

Rent arrears – £5,000

The figure of £5,000 takes on a new significance for Ls. That is now the minimum figure for serving a statutory demand (and for bankruptcy proceedings) against an individual (the previous figure was £750 – and that remains in effect for company debtors).

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Banksy – graffiti/art ownership

There was much publicity about the case involving a Banksy mural that had appeared overnight on a Folkestone building. What happened was that T cut out the mural and sent it to the US for sale at auction. However, legal action successfully stopped that sale going ahead.

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T’s possessions – L as bailee

If T vacates and leaves items behind, then L will be an ‘involuntary bailee’ of those items. As such, there will be a duty of care upon L to do what is ‘right and reasonable’, which will usually mean not disposing or selling of the goods without first taking reasonable steps to find the owner and then allowing them to collect them. In practice this can be done by serving notice on the former T and any interested third parties, and allowing a reasonable time for collection.

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Forfeiture – relief

If L wants to forfeit, the court will have a wide discretion in deciding whether or not to grant forfeiture (and can attach conditions). In simple terms, the court will consider all the circumstances of the case, including the conduct of the parties.

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Separate floors – separate leases?

If T is taking over several floors of a building, T may argue for separate leases of each separate floor.

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Service charges – T drafting

Typically, when agreeing a new lease, T will want to exclude liability for the following:

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CPSE.7 – short form

There is a new shortened version of the commercial property standard enquiries. Form CPSE.7 is the short-form version of CPSE.1.

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SDLT – rent deposits

It is well known that SDLT is payable on rent and also on premiums. But, it is less well known that SDLT may be payable on rent deposits, if they are regarded as ‘hidden’ premiums.

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Repairs – effect on T’s business

To what extent can T object if L proposes to carry out repair works that will have a negative impact on T’s business, for instance, if the front of the building is to be covered with scaffolding and cladding?

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Break clause – compliance with lease?

Many break clauses require T to have complied with all lease covenants at the time of the break. In practice, it can be virtually impossible to comply with the pre-condition.

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