Seeking legal advice for commercial leases

Whether you’re looking to secure an office, industrial unit or retail outlet for your business, your lease is likely to constitute one of your biggest outgoings, so reviewing its terms and conditions is essential.

Attention to detail is crucial - so engaging the support of an experienced real estate lawyer is key. Solicitors can guide you through the process to ensure that you avoid common pitfalls and navigate complexities.

First and foremost, it’s important to pay attention to the lease length. If you’re carrying out expensive fit-out works, then you will need a longer term lease, to allow you to make sufficient profit to recover this initial outlay.

Taking a short-term lease, with an option to renew at the end of the term, might be a better option if your business needs flexibility and will mean Stamp Duty Land Tax is minimised.

It’s also useful to seek advice on break clauses, which allow you to end the lease before the full term – but are often subject to specific conditions. Ensuring they are understood and reasonable will avoid you being left with the lease for longer than you planned.

Attention to detail is crucial - so engaging an experienced real estate lawyer is key.

Lastly, a real estate lawyer can be a useful second pair of eyes that ensures contracts don’t put unfair responsibility on you, such as ‘put and keep in repair’ obligations. Negotiating that you will keep the property in no worse condition than at the beginning of the tenancy will avoid you being liable to improve the property.

Seeking sound legal advice at the outset will ensure that the terms of your lease work for your business, enabling it to thrive.