This is important whether you are a tenant or a landlord.

Without a written agreement in place, there is no evidence as to the actual agreement reached with respect to essential lease terms such as:

  • rent review dates and methods
  • outgoings that the tenant is required to pay
  • ownership of any fixtures affixed by the tenant or any items supplied by the landlord for the use and enjoyment of the tenant
  • responsibility of any liability or damages claims
  • responsibility of maintaining insurances
  • responsibility of maintaining, servicing and replacing any capital items or items supplied by the landlord for the benefit of the tenant
  • requirements and obligations of the tenant and the landlord upon expiry of lease or default of lease.

With no written evidence, this can lead to protracted post lease negotiations and unexpected legal costs, particularly if the lease ends on a sour note.

We had a recent enquiry where a tenant had vacated commercial premises that they had leased and left behind their fixtures and fittings, on the understanding that the tenant could later return to retrieve their fixtures and fittings.

When it was time for the tenant to retrieve their fixtures and fittings, the tenant was denied access. As the lease and the agreement for the tenant to return were both verbal agreements, the tenant had no evidence that the agreement existed and the fixtures and fittings were deemed abandoned. This meant that the tenant's fixtures and fittings became the property of the landlord.

To avoid incurring unnecessary costs and partaking in protracted negotiations, please ensure that all of the terms of the lease are concluded, in writing and signed by the tenant, the landlord and any guarantors before the tenant takes occupation of the premises.

If you are the owner of a commercial premises or are about to enter into a commercial or retail lease we can provide you with the advice to make the best decisions. Please get in touch with us today to speak to one of our commercial property lawyers.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.