Can I use a commercial lease template from the internet?
Are you a Landlord working from home, struggling to reach your solicitor or worried about fees and think you can find something on the internet that will do? Head of Commercial Property, Julian Pyrke, shares some expert advice.
Over the course of my career I have seen a number of “home drafted” Commercial Leases, some of them have simply been howlers. It is easy in this day and age to think that you are able to get all relevant information from the internet and that a Commercial Lease is nothing more than sixty pages of Lawyers waffle. After all, commercial leases are endlessly long and lawyers get paid by the word, don’t they?
Commercial lease errors
Some of the Leases clients have taken from the internet over the years have included Leases for residential properties that have been used with or without amendments for a Commercial Property. This has meant that the relevant legislation was incorrect for the lease. This results in making the lease unenforceable as a commercial lease and potentially void. I have seen Leases that have been amended or adapted so that large necessary parts of the Lease have simply been deleted. Some with incorrectly executed or incomplete parts, again making the Lease unenforceable. The best Lease so far I have seen is a residential Lease, for a commercial property with the governing law based in Switzerland. I always fancied a trip to the land of Toblerone to enforce the lease in their courts…
The pitfalls of online commercial leases
In my experience, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Far too often I see people make the mistake of using a Lease template they found on the internet. When there are errors in the drafting this can have a number of consequences for the unwary landlord. You may find that:
- your rent cannot be collected when it is due
- service charges you thought were recoverable aren’t
- the tenant’s repairing obligation is not what you expected
- the Lease is simply unenforceable as a Lease and the tenant has obtained a periodic tenancy and obtained statutory property rights when you intended them not to.
I agree a commercial lease can seem daunting and yes some of them can be too long and over the top for what is required in the circumstances. However, there is not one lease that fits all here. That is where a specialist commercial property lawyer comes into their own in drafting a suitable and commercially appropriate lease. The clauses in a commercial lease are there to clarify and assist in the “what if” scenarios but if the relevant clauses are missing or simply wrong then potentially you have signed a worthless piece of paper.
Commercial property legal experts
At Gregg Latchams our team of senior commercial property solicitors are on hand to guide you through the process of granting a Lease. We have a variety of modern Lease precedents we are able to utilise and a very knowledgable team with years of experience.
We can offer you valuable commercial advice including:
- what form of Lease you should grant
- what is commercially acceptable in the market
- the requirements your lender will require
- the requirements a subsequent purchaser of your property will want to see.
Reduce commercial property legal costs
It is always preferable and more cost effective to get it right from day one than to have to unpick matters further on down the line. This is especially true in these difficult times when you need that lease to be accurate and watertight.
For expert commercial property legal advice for drafting your commercial lease, please contact: