Deals can be done on rent

A slow market offers opportunities for prospective tenants to negotiate with landlords.

Here Ian Liddle of Farleys solicitors gives his top tips for getting best value from the negotiations.

1. Ask for a rent free period. Given the state of the property market at the moment landlords are anxious to get tenants into occupation and will frequently agree significant rent free periods to avoid having to pay business rates themselves.

2. Think carefully about who is taking the lease. Ideally you should take it in a separate limited company rather than in your own personal name as a lease can expose you to significant personal liability. Not all landlords will agree to this since they may look for some security.

3. Ask for a break clause (a right for you to end the lease early). This gives you flexibility in that although you might commit to, say, a five-year lease you could bring the lease to an end on each anniversary of the term by giving to the landlord an agreed period of notice.

4. Don’t agree to pay the landlord’s legal costs. This is not standard practice and given the state of the market, the tenant should not be paying a landlord’s legal fees.

5. Consider your repairing obligation. You should either try and limit your repairing obligation to looking after, say, the interior only, or if you have to accept a responsibility to repair inside and out, limit it by reference to the condition of the premises at the start of the lease.

6. Ensure your lease is within the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. At the end of the term you will have a right to apply to court for a new lease unless the landlord objects. The landlord can only object on certain specified grounds.
Ian Liddle