Commercial Lease Renewal
Expert guidance on commercial lease renewals
Our commercial property lawyers are here to help and guide landlords and tenants who are coming to the end of a commercial lease term. We have a wealth of experience in dealing with business lease renewals, both in opposed and unopposed cases.
Guy Osborn Partner
Commercial Lease Renewal Process
This page will guide you through the process and answer many of your questions about each party’s rights and obligations under The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. You will learn more about the commercial property solicitors at Osbornes, including how our approach to lease renewal negotiations can result in positive outcomes for your business.
Business leases come in all shapes and sizes. We represent both landlords and tenants with commercial lease renewals, and our experience covers all types of commercial property including office, retail, industrial and leisure premises. Our solicitors work with everything from high street takeaways to flagship stores with multi-million-pound rents.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (‘the 1954 Act’) provides stability for business tenants and gives them ‘security of tenure’ in most cases. If the lease enjoys the protection of Part II of the 1954 Act, it will not automatically come to an end when the fixed term expires. Rather, the tenant has the right to apply for a new tenancy and the landlord must grant this request unless there is a specific legal reason to oppose the renewal.
If you are a landlord or a tenant of commercial premises, you will need to make some decisions in plenty of time as the term of the lease comes to an end. Our aim is to help you take the right course of action that’s best for your business. This might include:
- Applying for a lease renewal under the 1954 Act
- Opposing a lease renewal, if a statutory reason applies
- Negotiating terms for renewing the lease
- Asking the Court to make a decision if the parties cannot come to an agreement
- Forming alternative plans
For expert advice, please call our specialist solicitors in London today.
Commercial Lease Renewal FAQs
What is the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954?
Most business leases are protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, a piece of legislation that ensures a landlord cannot throw the tenant out onto the street when their business lease comes to an end.
The Act gives tenants two basic protections:
- The right to remain in the premises at the same rent and on the same terms after the lease comes to an end; and
- The right to automatically renew their lease in certain circumstances.
Some leases are not protected by the 1954 Act. Usually, this happens where the parties have built a clause into the original lease to opt-out of the Act’s protections. A commercial lease renewal solicitor will be able to tell you if the tenant has the right to renew. If they do not, the lease will end on a specified date and the tenant must vacate the property.
Who can initiate a commercial lease renewal?
Either the landlord or tenant can initiate the lease renewal procedure. The 1954 Act sets out a strict procedure and time limits for the service of notices, counter notices and a court application. The time limits are critical – if they are missed, the right to renew the lease may be lost.
The landlord can activate the lease renewal procedure by serving a section 25 notice. This will state a termination date for the tenancy between six and 12 months from the date of the notice. The notice indicates whether the landlord will oppose a lease renewal and, if the landlord does object, clearly state a reason why they do not wish to grant a new lease.
A tenant can activate the lease renewal procedure by serving a Section 26 notice seeking a new lease and proposing the terms for a new tenancy. The same time frames apply, so it is important to start thinking about your options around a year before the lease comes to an end.
Can a landlord refuse to renew a lease?
A landlord cannot refuse a lease renewal simply because they do not like the tenant. They can, however, oppose the renewal for one of the specified grounds laid down in the 1954 Act. The most common reasons are:
- Repeated non-payment of rent
- Tenant’s failure to repair the premises
- The landlord wants to occupy the premises for the purpose of its own business
- The landlord wishes to redevelop the property
For a full list of permitted reasons, it’s best to get in touch with a legal professional. You will need to take specific actions depending on the circumstances. The lease will continue until appropriate action is taken which may not be your business goal.
What will be the terms of the new lease?
Once both parties agree that the lease will continue, the next step is negotiating the new terms. These terms can be whatever the parties agree. If they can’t agree, a Judge can decide the terms. In reality, it is extremely rare to go to court as most renewal leases are agreed between the parties and their professional advisors.
As a rule of thumb, the new lease will follow the terms of the old lease unless there is a good reason to make a change. The new rent generally will be the open market rent at the time of the lease renewal. Surveyors can determine the new rent and agree other key terms such as the term of the new lease and any break clauses.
How can a solicitor help with my lease renewal?
Commercial lease renewals can be complicated and time-consuming, and they often require a joined-up approach from commercial property solicitors and property litigation solicitors. It is critical to be proactive and diarise key dates; otherwise, the right to renew the lease (or oppose its renewal) may be lost.
In addition, the parties will want to avoid other problems associated with lease expiry such as unwanted tenants remaining in occupation, or the tenant having an ‘irregular’ occupation and being vulnerable to losing the property. Hiring a solicitor is essential to avoid any unintended consequences.
At Osbornes, we offer a responsive service, with expert solicitors always on hand to give astute and pragmatic advice. Our approach is to get a thorough understanding of your business and its commercial goals, so that we can help you achieve the outcomes you’re trying to achieve.
Why choose Osbornes for a commercial lease renewal?
As commercial lease specialists with more than 40 years’ experience, Osbornes has in-depth knowledge of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and all aspects of commercial property law, to help you achieve your business objectives. Our clients give the following reasons why they choose to work with us:
- Breadth of experience in both unopposed and contentious lease renewal claims
- Professional and proactive approach
- Featured in the 2021 Spears 500 directory in recognition of our high standard of advice in commercial property law
- Clear, solutions-focused advice from a team that understands the commercial issues as well as the legal issues
- Accessibility and ability to communicate complex legal concepts in a non-technical way
Contact us today for a free initial consultation on your commercial lease renewal options. We are happy to answer all of your questions.
Professional and communicative throughout the process of becoming a Freehold Company and having a share of said freehold. Both Amber and Siroop spoke in plain English and were most efficient and pleasant to deal with.
Amber was fantastic from start to finish. Efficient, clear and professional. Will certainly be calling on her again.
Guy and his team assisted me with a new lease venture and were an absolute pleasure to work with. A professional & knowledgeable team who offered fast and excellent advice. Highly recommend their services
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The Property Law Team View the whole team
William Ford Partner
Housing and Social Care
Shilpa Mathuradas Partner
Simon Nosworthy Partner
Guy Osborn Partner
Muna Adam Solicitor
Rachael Atkinson Senior Associate
Lekhika Chaudhary Solicitor
Maria Elliot Senior Associate
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Naomi Francis Paralegal
Emma Healy Paralegal
Grace Hedges Paralegal
Amber Krishnan-Bird Associate Solicitor
Rachelle Lam Solicitor
Emily Lund Senior Associate
Rory Matheson Solicitor
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James Mayall Solicitor
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Alex McMahon Senior Associate
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Angela Osei-Bonsu Paralegal
Alex Panayi Solicitor
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Erim Sheikh Solicitor