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Commercial Property

Our Commercial Property team advise on a multitude of commercial issues for a wide range of buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, developers and funders.

Healys Solicitors’ Commercial Property team is well established and benefits from great depth of experience. Our Lawyers are commercially attuned to our clients’ needs. The business objectives of our clients drive the pace of our transactions. Our Property Lawyers are made up of experts covering the full scope of commercial work and includes litigators experienced in handling property disputes.

The Commercial Property team has the resources and the project management experience to deliver portfolio acquisitions and disposals and large scale lending projects on time and in budget.

Our Lawyers have particular expertise in the following areas:

If you are buying or selling your commercial asset, it is important you get the best possible advice from the outset of any transaction.

Our commercial property experts regularly deal with a range of commercial entities and private investors both nationally and internationally.  The team has vast amount of project management experience and is able to deliver efficient commercial property acquisitions and disposal transactions on time and within budget.

The team has extensive experience in the purchase and sale of commercial property including office, retail, hotels and industrial spaces.

The property development activity from site acquisition; to funding; to refurbishment; and then construction can be a challenging cycle to complete. Each part of the cycle can come with its own challenge and risk. Failure can often have severe financial consequences.

This is why having a proactive and experienced Commercial Property Lawyer from the outset can not only help to avoid the risk but can enhance the viability of any project and in most instances increase your profit margins.

The right Property Lawyer will work for you and tailor their services to you and your development needs.

Our property development Lawyers can help with:

  • Advising on the acquisition of freehold or leasehold development sites
  • Acting for landowners selling sites for development
  • Advice in relation to options, conditional contracts and assembled sites
  • Strategic planning advice, planning agreements and applications, planning appeals and inquiry hearings
  • Resolution of property development disputes

 

Why use Healys Solicitors’ Property Development Solicitors?

Our Property Development Lawyers have the depth of experience, commitment and speed of reaction required to achieve your objectives. We always aim to work in cooperation with the seller’s and lender’s team and have a track history of meeting tight deadlines. Success in property development projects depends on good coordination and liaison with other construction professionals and we make this our priority.

Our clients in development range from developers of large mixed use sites to a hotel group outsourcing some of its functions in a five star hotel in London to clients optioning land, obtaining planning permission for some residential units and selling on with the benefit of that planning permission.

We act for both landlords and tenants of all types of commercial property from large city centre offices to single shop or office units.

We have a strong focus on leasing. Our aim is to achieve a lease which protects our client’s particular interests quickly and to avoid protracted negotiation. Our Lawyers are experienced and will not waste time on unimportant points. The documentation you will be provided with will enable you easily to manage your asset or manage your facility. We will be happy to provide client references if required.

A tenant of business premises, eg a shop or a restaurant, usually has a statutory right at the end of a tenancy to remain in their premises and to renew their tenancy.

However, the tenant can agree with the landlord before the start of the tenancy that the business tenancy will not be “protected” by the above statutory right. This is known as an “excluded tenancy”. Very short tenancies are also not protected.

The law in this area is a minefield and a potential trap for the unwary. Major changes to the law were made in 2004 with the aim of making the process more flexible, eg the process of agreeing an excluded tenancy (where the tenant does not have a statutory right to review) was made easier.

Whilst these have largely been beneficial, the changes have also created new areas of uncertainty and a different set of potential traps and deadlines. The downside for the tenant is that if he does not adhere strictly to the procedure he could lose his statutory rights and could have to move out of his premises. This could have a disastrous impact on the tenant’s business.

The renewal process is started by either the landlord or tenant firstly serving a formal notice. Upon the notice period expiring, either party can apply to the Court, although usually the parties agree to extend the deadline. The parties have a free hand in negotiating the terms of the new lease, eg the rent or duration, but ultimately if they are unable to reach agreement the terms will have to be decided by a Court which has less freedom of manoeuvre. Both landlord and tenant should engage a surveyor/valuer to advise on the level of the new rent.

Landlords have a limited right to oppose renewal in certain circumstances. In some cases this will require the landlord paying compensation to the tenant which is assessed by a statutory formula.

Commercial Property has been the best performing asset class for 10 years. Recent turmoil in the equity markets and uncertainty within the pension industry have combined to make commercial property investment attractive.

Healys Solicitors has extensive experience from working with clients who have invested in the UK office, industrial, retail and leisure industries. We work for a wide range of property investors, both domestic and overseas, from the small private investor seeking to add an investment to their property portfolio to a corporate client seeking to add to its property portfolio. At whatever level, Healys Solicitors are approachable and offer straight-forward advice.

Healys Solicitors has a particular expertise in secured lending. We are appointed by clearing banks and merchant banks to ensure that they obtain good security over a particular borrower’s selected assets.

Lenders are of course looking for a watertight security but are also looking for Lawyers to act swiftly in order to protect their relationship with their own client, the borrower.

We seek to preserve that relationship by ensuring speed of response, excellent organisation, a commercial approach and certainty of costs. We have a particular expertise in lending to borrowers who are based outside the UK, including companies based in the BVI and the Channel Islands.

Our experience and well-established links with foreign Lawyers means that we can manage this element without adversely affecting the required timeline. We understand the need to meet the lender’s audit requirements and internal processes at all stages in the transaction including post completion.

It is vital for businesses that tenants have a suitable property from which to run their commercial, business or investment undertakings.

Commercial leases can prove to be complex documents that regulate the relationship between landlord and tenants. Nowadays, commercial leases tend not to be unduly harsh or restrictive to the tenant.  It seems that the most complex provisions of the lease are those related to rent review. Rent reviews allow the periodical adjustment of commercial rents to the market level at the date of review. The rent review is an area that has taken up, for years, time and expense to determine disputes between landlords and tenants, regarding the amount of rent passing at various stages throughout the life of a lease.

Negotiation of Provisions

In order to reduce the stress, delays and expenses, when the commercial lease is being reviewed, both landlords and tenants should ought to ensure that they are aware of the rent review process and negotiate these provisions. Shorter leases (between 10 and 15 years) are nowadays more popular with landlords and tenants. Traditionally, UK commercial leases were granted for 20 years or more. Rent review clauses were introduced to combat high inflation levels and up to the 1960s reviews were at 7 to 14 year intervals. At the present time, the rent review clause sets out when each review will take place (usually every three to five years), the method of review, and provisions for dealing with disputes if they arise.

In Crawford v Bruce (1992), the court held that a review clause in a lease was void because it only provided for the rent to be reviewed every three years, but did not say how. In City of Aberdeen Council v Clark (1999), the clause provided for either party to require the rent to be renegotiated at the end of each period of twenty-one years, and failing agreement for the rent to be determined by an arbiter. The court held that the clause was workable, and that the lease said how the review was to be determined, albeit somewhat short on detail.

Code for Leasing Business Premises

The ‘Code for Leasing Business Premises in England and Wales 2007’ represents both owners (landlords) and occupiers (tenants). The Code aims to promote fairness in commercial leases, and recognises a need to increase awareness of property issues (specially for small businesses), ensuring that occupiers of business premises have the necessary information to negotiate the best deal for them. This Code specifically states that rent reviews should be clear and headline rent review clauses should not be used. If landlords are requested by tenants for alternatives to their proposed option for rent, they should be able to do it according to a risk-adjusted basis. For example, alternatives to upward only rent review might include up and down reviews to market rent with a minimum of the initial rent (or reference to another measure).

Leases may contain provisions allowing the landlord to change the rent. These provisions should be clear and understandable and should clearly indicate that the landlord cannot simply impose a rental increase. In case, landlords are unable to offer alternatives, they should justify it. Commercial leases should allow both landlords and tenants to start the rent review process. Usually, the method of recalculating a commercial rent is through revaluation in the open market at review date. The rent review should be to the market rent unless clearly stated otherwise and if the tenant agrees over increases fixed to an index, then the basis should be a published, independent, authoritative source.

Tenants and landlords should understand the basis on which the rent can be changed. For example, can the rent go down as well as up? The tenant should see if the landlord is ready to allow upward or downward rent reviews, or if the tenant could ask for a ‘break option’. The commercial lease should also include a provision allowing tenants to serve a rent review notice on the landlord. Tenants should make sure that the interest rate on the difference is no higher than bank rates. The landlord loses interest on the difference if he or she does not initiate the rent review process prior to the review date.

Carrying out the rent review?

If the lease does not provide for upwards-only rent review, but only provides for the landlord to be able to initiate the review, then the courts have stepped in to protect the tenant; this happened in Royal Bank of Scotland plc v Jennings (1997),  where the rent review was not upwards only, and the lease provided that the initial yearly rent was payable only until the first review date and after that the rent should be a market rent calculated in accordance with the review clause. The review clause said that only the landlord was entitled to have an expert appointed. The court held that as the landlord had failed or refused to appoint an expert, the court could do so. The landlord could not frustrate the operation of the contract by failing to operate the review clause. However, in Standard Life Assurance Co Ltd v Unipath the rent review provision in a lease was upwards only and it was held that it would be pointless for a tenant to seek to initiate a review. There is no presumption that a rent review clause should be able to be exercised by both parties; it will always depend on the type of the review and on the wording of the clause.

Contact Healys Specialist Rent Review Solicitors

Healy’s Solicitors’ Commercial Property Team is well established and benefits from great depth of experience. If the parties do not agree over the rent, the rent review clause will stipulate a procedure for a third party dispute resolution (an independent expert or arbitrator to settle). Poorly conducted rent reviews can lead to financial loss and termination of the lease. Healy’s Commercial Property Solicitors can act successfully on behalf of tenants or landlords in commercial rent review matters.

A premises licence is needed where one or more ‘licensable activities’ are carried out at any property.

The following are defined as licensable activities:

  • Sale of alcohol by retail
  • Supply of alcohol in a club premises
  • The provision of regulated entertainment
  • Late night refreshment

A licensing authority must issue licences with a view to promoting the licensing objectives. These are:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder;
  • Public safety;
  • The prevention of public nuisance; and
  • The protection of children from harm.

Individuals managing licensed premises must hold a personal licence which allows a person to sell alcohol, or authorise the sale of alcohol. If you wish to be specified as a designated premises supervisor you must have a personal licence.

Why use our Licensing Solicitors?

Healys Solicitors offers professional advice and solutions on all aspects of licensing law. We will draft and submit your premises licence application for you and guide you through the application process to ensure your application proceeds as smoothly as possible.

Individuals, businesses and authorities such as the police have a right to review an existing premises licence which may ultimately lead to the revocation of the licence. A right of appeal exists at the Magistrates Court against any decision made by the Licensing Authority. We can represent you in licensing hearings, help you apply for the review or appeal of a premises licence or to oppose an application for review.

We can also assist with licence transfer applications or application to change the designated premises supervisor which form part of many commercial and property transactions.

The landlord and tenant relationship is one which exists between the owner of property and his or her tenants. The relationship is usually governed by a lease or tenancy agreement. In addition to the lease and/or tenancy agreement there are numerous statutory obligations which are imposed on both Landlords and Tenants. Landlord & Tenant Law applies to property of all types including residential, commercial and agricultural.

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant it is vital that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations. The law protects both parties and does not permit you to “take the law into your own hands” irrespective of the circumstances.

Healys Solicitors’ Commercial and Residential Property Lawyers are experienced in all aspects of Landlord & Tenant Law. We also have a specialist team dealing with disputes which arise between landlord and tenant.

Call Us Today
Call our London office on 020 7822 4000 or our Brighton office on 01273 685 888. You can also contact us online.
Call Us Today
London: 020 7822 4000 Brighton: 01273 685 888 Or you can contact us online: Contact Us