If you are a business tenant and your lease is about to come to an end, you have the right under law to request a new one. The new lease may even be on better terms. Business leases are covered by law and, while it is no longer necessary for renewal terms to be agreed by the court, you still have to follow a legal process. Even if you get on well with your landlord, it is not enough to write a simple business letter.
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Check the lease
Check that your lease is protected under the 1954 Landlord and Tenant Act. If you cannot remember, or if you are not the original tenant -- perhaps because you acquired the lease in the middle of its term -- read through the wording of the lease. If you or the original tenant opted out of the protection of the Act, it will be stated in the lease. If you do not have the protection of the Act, seek legal advice immediately.
Decide new terms
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 says that a tenant who occupies premises for their own business has a right to a new lease on similar terms to the old one, but updated to take into account new regulations and market conditions. So, for example, if business rents have gone down in your area, you might want to request a rent reduction.
If your landlord seems reasonable and likely to grant you a renewal of the lease, you probably think it will be a simple matter to agree the lease renewal directly with him, without involving a solicitor. Think again. Unlike residential leases, commercial business leases are considered to be contracts, and you should always get a solicitor to check your business contracts. It is, for example, possible that the previous lease had been badly drafted, and you would compound those errors on renewal.
Submit the form
You must give notice to the landlord that you wish to renew the lease using a special form. The form of these notices is laid down by the law in regulations called "The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, Part 2 (Notices) Regulations 2004" (Statutory Instrument 2004 No. 1005). Your solicitor will be able to supply a copy of the form for you to use and will help you draft your request for updated terms. It is polite, though not strictly necessary, to write a short, formal covering letter explaining what the form is.
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