The breakdown of the landlord-tenant relationship can cause serious problems for everyone involved if the dispute is not handled swiftly and constructively. Save valuable time, costs and energy with the assistance of one of our expert commercial dispute solicitors.
We advise commercial landlords and tenants throughout Kent and beyond.
Disputes which arise within commercial tenancies can be highly disruptive for you and your business. We recognise that, whether you are a landlord or tenant, the property will represent a valuable investment or asset. Without the right advice, it is common for problems to spiral out of control causing significant costs for both parties.
Our aim is to help you negotiate a constructive settlement, keeping costs low and minimising the impact on your business. Our expertise includes:
- Breach of a commercial lease
- Rent deposit disputes
- Authorised guarantee agreements
- Break clauses and terminating a commercial lease
- Assignment and subletting disputes
- Alterations, repairs and dilapidations disputes
- Forfeiture and possession proceedings
- Applications for lease renewal
- Tenant insolvency issues
Advising businesses throughout Gravesend, Kent and beyond
We can also offer meetings at your place of business or at home if the need arises, as well as conference calls via skype for clients who frequently need to travel abroad.
Our landlord & tenant dispute resolution expertise
Breach of a commercial lease
The vast majority of landlord & tenant disputes occur because a party has breached the terms of their commercial lease. There are a multitude of scenarios we can assist with, from pursuing tenants who have fallen into rent arrears to dealing with landlords who are not respecting the tenant’s right to occupy and disrupting their business.
We can provide tailored advice about your options, act on your behalf during negotiations and help you pursue a full range of legal remedies, including:
- ‘Specific performance’ – compelling the landlord or tenant to take a certain action or refrain from doing something
- Damages – financial compensation for any losses you incurred due to the breach of lease
Rent deposit disputes
Commercial deposits are an attractive way for landlords to insure against their tenant’s breach of covenant. However, both landlords and tenants should be aware of their legal rights and obligations, such as when the landlord can draw upon this money and in what form it should be protected.
We can provide specialist advice about rent deposits and help landlords and tenants resolve disputes in constructive and cost effective ways. Our expertise includes:
- Reviewing and advising on rent deposit deeds
- Early release of deposit – for example, if the lease is assigned to a new tenant
- Deposit renegotiations – for example, upon a rent review
- Disputes over the misuse of deposit funds
- Landlord insolvency and recovering deposits
Authorised guarantee agreements
When a commercial landlord consent to the assignment of a lease to a new tenant, they will typically require the original tenant to enter into an authorised guarantee agreement to protect against the risk of the new tenant (the assignee) from breaching the covenants within their lease.
We can provide practical advice about all types of dispute that may arise from the use and interpretation of an AGA, including your rights and the document’s enforceability. We can also assist with making or defending claims under an AGA.
Assignment and subletting disputes
Most commercial leases will include a covenant requiring the consent of the landlord before a lease can be assigned or sublet. However, consent should not be delayed or unreasonably withheld. Where it is, the tenant may take legal action to allow them to proceed, or they can go ahead and sublet or assign the lease anyway. Of course, the latter option also runs the risk of the landlord taking legal action for a breach of the terms of the lease.
We can assist with all disputes relating to assignment and subletting, including:
- Reviewing commercial leases and advising on your rights and responsibilities
- Resolving disputes over consent
- Taking legal action against landlords or tenants in relation to consent
- Planning disputes over change of use
Break clauses and terminating a commercial lease
Commercial leases run for set periods of time and neither the landlord or tenant can end the lease early without consequence unless they mutually agree or they have a legal right to do so. However, it is a fact of life that circumstances change, and sometimes a commercial tenancy that made sense at the start of the term is no longer fit for purpose.
Businesses may need to move on because they have outgrown the space or because they are in financial difficulties; the landlord may need the property back to sell or because the tenant has fallen behind on their rent; whatever the reason, disputes can quickly arise if the parties are not in agreement about ending the lease.
Our landlord & tenant dispute lawyers can provide advice about your options to end a commercial lease, including providing pragmatic advice about navigating and resolving disputes. Our expertise includes:
- Exercising break clauses
- Forfeiture and repossession
- Surrendering a commercial lease
- Advice about security of tenure and terminating a lease after expiry of the term
Applications for lease renewal
In some cases, tenants have the automatic right to remain in the commercial property after the end of their lease term, unless this right of lease renewal has been excluded in the lease document. A commercial landlord can also oppose lease renewal on certain grounds, for example, if the tenant is in rent arrears or have otherwise breached the terms of their lease.
We can provide advice about terminating a commercial lease and applications for lease renewal under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954.
Alterations, repairs and dilapidations
A commercial tenant’s repair and maintenance obligations will usually be set out under the lease. Where a tenant fails to keep up with their obligations, a landlord may make a monetary claim known as a ‘dilapidations’ claim.
We can assist with all disputes arising out of maintenance, repairs and alterations obligations, including reviewing and interpreting the terms of a lease and bringing and defending dilapidations claims.
Tenant insolvency issues
Tenant insolvency is always a risk for landlords. We can provide advice on your options for minimising and recuperating loss caused by tenant insolvency, including:
- Balancing the costs of legal action with the potential benefits (for example, where there is little to no chance of recovery, taking action may be more costly than cutting losses)
- Alternative dispute resolution processes, such as mediation and arbitration, for negotiating repayment
- Issuing legal proceedings for the non-payment of commercial rent (referred to as commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR))
- Calling in securities, such as drawing from the tenant’s deposit or claiming under a guarantee
- Forfeiting the lease
- Bringing insolvency proceedings – issuing statutory demands and petitions to wind up a company or bankrupt an individual
Advising people and businesses throughout Kent and beyond
We can also offer meetings at your place of business if needed, or via a skype conference call if you are out of the country.
We offer an initial appointment to discuss your requirements from £280 plus VAT. After that we can arrange flexible payment terms, including monthly billing to help you budget.
Get in touch with our landlord and tenant solicitors in Kent
If you need help with a landlord and tenant dispute, or any other commercial property issue, please get in touch to see how we can assist. You can call us on 01474 351199 or use our contact form and we will call you.