Leases of Retail Shops and Shopping Centres

We regularly act for commercial landlords and tenants for leases of their Retail shops and Shopping centers.

Contact us on: 01483 751878





Standard Retail Lease Documentation The Landlord’s solicitor will usually provide the tenant’s solicitor with a “tenant’s pack” at the beginning of the transaction. This pack of documentation from the landlord’s solicitors will usually include: -evidence of the landlord’s proof of ownership of the building (in the case of a high street shop), or the shopping centre or retail estate as applicable; -additional title documents which are registered against the landlord’s title to the property and may restrict the tenant’s intended use of the property; -a plan showing the property to be let to the tenant, together with any ancillary rights of access, parking etc. This plan will need to be Land Registry compliant if the lease is for more than seven years; -an energy performance certificate; -the draft commercial lease; -landlord’s replies to the Commercial Property Standard enquiries and documents referred to in the replies such as buildings insurance, service charge accounts, asbestos report and planning permissions for the lawful use of the premises. The planning permission will need to be for the tenant’s specific retail use within the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order. Deal Specific Documentation There may also be deal specific documentation such as: -a draft agreement for lease, for example to enable the tenant to carry out their shop fit out works prior to the start of the lease; -a draft licence to carry out internal alterations to the property;

-a draft rent deposit deed, if the landlord requires a rent deposit;

-a draft licence to underlet, if your landlord is the tenant of the property in which case the freeholder will need to consent to the underlease being granted to you; -a declaration required by law to exclude the tenant’s legal right to a new lease at the end of the agreed term, if the parties have agreed that the automatic lease renewal rights are to be excluded; -a draft side letter dealing with items ancillary to the lease, for example changing the frequency of the rent payments from quarterly to monthly.

- additional information relating to the property may also be provided depending on the nature of the property. For example, if the property is a unit within a shopping centre, a copy of the tenant manual which all tenants must adhere to may also be provided. Also if the property is located within a new retail development then construction documents, including the certificate of practical completion, may be provided.

Additional factors to consider Survey & Searches The tenant is strongly advised to arrange a survey and arrange for a schedule of condition to be prepared, particularly if the lease is a full repair and insuring lease of the whole building where the tenant will be responsible for the structural elements of the property. The tenant is also advised to purchase a local authority search, commercial water and drainage search, and an environmental search through our offices. The results provide important information about the property, such as whether the property has the correct planning permissions and building regulations consent, that the foul water and surface water is recorded as discharging to public sewers, and that the land within which the property is located is unaffected by historical contamination issues. Since the survey and the searches can sometimes take several weeks to obtain, it is important that these are ordered as soon as possible When considering the financial liabilities involved in taking a new lease, you should factor into your budget additional costs such as business rates and utility rates. There may also be additional legal fees if the lease which is being granted to you is an underlease (where your landlord’s interest in the property is leasehold) and the freeholder has to give their consent to the grant of the lease. The freeholder will instruct their own solicitors to formalise their consent in the form of a licence to underlet.

The new lease may also attract stamp duty land tax, depending on the length of the lease, whether a premium is being paid and the amount of annual rent, including any VAT payable. A stamp duty land tax return will usually need to be completed and submitted to the inland revenue.

If you choose to use our services If you choose to instruct us on your behalf we will advise you on the clauses within the lease, and will negotiate any excessively onerous terms with the landlord’s solicitor. You may have agreed a break clause (right to bring the lease to an early end) and if so we can advise you on the landlord’s solicitor’s suggested clause to ensure that you are fully aware of what is required from you in order to exercise this right to break. We will advise you of your rights and obligations at the beginning of the lease, your obligations while you are in occupation of the retail premises and also the provisions in the lease regarding the condition in which you must leave the property when the lease comes to an end.