Deed of Variation For A Lease

Deed Variation For Commercial Property

This page will guide you through the lease variation process for commercial leases and answer many of your questions. You will learn about our specialist commercial leasing lawyers can help you make changes to an unsuitable or outdated lease while avoiding legal pitfalls.

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Jargon-free advice from the commercial leasing specialists

Commercial leases often last for 10 or more years. The original lease may no longer serve the business goals of the landlord or tenant and frequently the parties will agree that the original lease must be varied to reflect changes in circumstance. Our specialist team of commercial lease lawyers has decades of experience dealing with commercial lease variations. We can help you negotiate a worthwhile lease restructure that reflects current market conditions and the current and future needs of your business.

Expert lease variation solicitors

Commercial lease variations can be much more complex than they first appear. Without specialist guidance from a commercial lease variations solicitor, you may accidentally surrender the lease or put in place clauses that are onerous.

Our commercial property lawyers can walk you through the legal minefield while ensuring that all issues are protected. Whether you’re an established landlord, new to the process or a tenant requiring variations or corrections to your lease, we can give you timely and pragmatic advice tailored to the needs of your business.

We can help you with such issues as:

  • What changes do you need to be put in place to meet your business needs or protect your investment?
  • Are the changes you are seeking both legally and commercially viable?
  • What is the best way to document the lease variations? Is a deed of variation required or can we achieve the same goals through simpler means?
  • How will the variations impact the remaining terms of the lease and your ability to assign the lease or sell the property in the future?

Usually, we are able to offer a fixed fee for this service. Please contact us for a confidential discussion and a no-obligation quote today.

Lease Deed of Variation FAQs

What is a deed of variation on a lease?

A commercial lease deed of variation enables a landlord and tenant to change the terms of a business lease. It is a legal document that specifies the changes that have been agreed, such as adding in a new permitted usage or removing a signage restriction.

The deed supplements the existing lease and the two documents must be read together to understand all the conditions of the commercial tenancy. Often, your solicitor will annotate the original lease to show that it has been varied, so that everyone is aware of the changes.

When might I need a commercial lease variation?

When you vary the lease by deed, you permanently change it. This means it will bind future landlords and tenants of the property.

Situations when a permanent lease variation may be necessary include:

  • When the landlord and tenant have agreed to add or delete a clause in the lease
  • When the lease does not include sufficient rights, for example, access rights for service deliveries, or the right to place plant and equipment on the outside of the building
  • Where the lease plan does not properly identify the premises and the parties want to update it to current Land Registry standards
  • To correct a mistake in the lease.

Often, it is possible to achieve your business goals in a simpler manner. For example, a landlord may write a letter allowing the tenant to pay the rent monthly, even though the lease requires quarterly rent payments. The concession is given to the current tenant only, so when the tenant assigns the property the permission will fall away.

What are the pitfalls with a deed of variation?

If a variation extends the term of the lease, or increases or decreases the extent of the premises, then this is considered to be a “deemed surrender and regrant.” In other words, it is implied that the tenant’s interest is transferred back to the landlord, and an entirely new lease is brought into being.

This has unexpected and far-reaching consequences for both parties:

  • Security of tenure exclusions are not carried through to the new lease, so the tenant may gain a legal right to renew the business lease at the end of the term even though this was not what the parties intended
  • Previous tenants and guarantors will be released from their liabilities under the original lease
  • The regrant almost certainly will trigger a new Stamp Duty Land Tax charge.

As you can see, the law surrounding deeds of variation can be complex. It is critical to take legal advice from a specialist commercial leasing solicitor to avoid any unintended, and potentially disastrous, consequences for your business.

What is the process for a commercial lease variation?

A commercial lease can only be varied if both parties agree to it – that is the starting point. A specialist commercial leasing solicitor can help you negotiate the changes you are seeking, and then put the agreed changes into a binding legal document.

They can also advise whether a formal deed of variation is the best route forward, or whether you can achieve the same goal through a simple letter or licence.

At Osbornes, we have more than 40 years’ experience working on a range of issues related to commercial lease variations. We can put the property protections in place for your business, and typically can have the deed of variation in place in just a few weeks.

Book a free initial chat with one of our commercial leasing solicitors to find out how we can help today.

Why choose Osbornes for a lease deed of variation?

For more than 40 years, our firm has provided a single source of commercial property advice and assistance, focusing our efforts on achieving the best results for landlords and tenants. Our priority is getting your lease variation concluded as smoothly and quickly as possible, ensuring minimal disruption for your business.

We are highly rated by independent legal directories Chambers and Partners, Legal 500 and The Times for our significant experience in this field.

Our firm has recently been commended in The Times ‘Best Law Firms 2021’ guide for the third consecutive year and we pride ourselves on our swift and responsive approach.

Contact our Commercial Property Lawyers

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

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