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Renting premises for your business

Do not spend money on your new rented premises till you have a proper tenancy agreement or lease. It is possible to agree to a tenancy by word of mouth, and it will be legally binding. But, you will find yourself in dispute with your landlord unless the agreed terms and conditions are set out in a lease or tenancy agreement.

If your landlord offers you a written agreement, don't sign it without legal advice. It may seem very plain and simple, but legal documents don't always mean what they appear to say; sometimes what is not written down is as important as what is.

Come and see us at the outset and tell us all about the deal. We will tell you what we can do for you and how much you can expect it to cost.

Contracting out

  • The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 protects tenants who occupy their premises for business purposes. You can contract out of it, but only if the landlord gets the paperwork right, before you or the landlord are legally committed to the tenancy.
  • If your tenancy has not been contracted out, and is 'inside the Act', you may not have to leave when the lease expires. If you are still in occupation, the tenancy will automatically continue, unless the landlord gives you six months' notice to end it. When you do get notice, you are usually entitled to a new lease at an updated rent, unless the landlord can oppose this on the limited grounds set out in the 1954 Act.
  • If your tenancy is contracted out, the lease will mean what it says. It will come to an end when the agreed period expires. You will not be entitled to renew it, and must leave unless the landlord chooses to offer a new lease.
  • More and more leases are contracted out nowadays, because it is no longer necessary to get a court order first. However, at times when good tenants are hard to get, you may be able to insist on a tenancy within the Act, or on concessions in the rent or other terms of the lease, as the price of your co-operation in contracting out.

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