How landlords can protect their rights in five simple steps
Landlords have many responsibilities, some of which can seem onerous at times. However, these are balanced by the rights which you have, all of which are designed to look after your interests in respect of commercial properties. We look at five simple steps you can take to protect your rights.
1) You have the right of forfeiture
If your tenant does not pay their rent for a specified period (usually between 14 – 28 days) you have the right to terminate the lease – this is known as forfeiture. Unlike residential landlords, you do not need to apply for a court order to terminate the lease and repossess your property.
Of course, it is reasonable for a tenant in financial difficulties to ask for a period of reduced rent, and you may consider that a viable option, as opposed to having business premises vacant. Therefore, it’s important to always keep the avenues of communication open between you and your tenant.
2) You have to right to ask for rent if the tenant breaks the lease early
If a tenant’s business suffers a bad patch and goes into administration, they may seek to vacate the premises or sublet it to another tenant. However, this should not impact on you – the tenant (unless there is an express term in the lease) is still responsible for paying the rent as well as other legal and financial responsibilities until the lease expires, whether they have vacated the premises or not.
3) You have the right to ensure your property is maintained
Whatever the current state of your commercial property, you have the right to legally oblige your tenant to restore it to good order after their lease ends. Negotiations at pre-signing stage can include the obligation for the tenant to restore the property to its original condition but you should ask your solicitor to prepare the lease to include favourable Schedule of Condition terms which mean that the tenant is as least partly, if not wholly responsible, for any repairs to the property before they vacate.
4) You have the right to add a service charge to the rent
If you incur expenses maintaining common areas in a property, such as lighting, refuse collection and security, you have the right to charge your tenants for the cost of their upkeep. RICS offer guidance documents which can assist in setting fair and transparent charges so that tenants benefit from the services provided and landlords are not out of pocket.
5) You have the right to expect the tenant to insure the property
Insurance on a commercial property should not only include covering any damage which may unfortunately happen, it should also cover any rental income losses you will incur as a result of such damage. This is the responsibility of the tenant and should be agreed in the lease as one of the conditions.
If you have any queries about the rights you have as a commercial landlord you should seek professional advice. The Eddisons team can offer you professional advice and information about all aspects of preparing a lease or overseeing your properties.
Written by: David Rowling on Tuesday 24/05/2016