Commercial property is a complex area of law with substantial scope for disagreement between commercial landlords and tenants. It is important to address disagreements as soon as they arise to try to avoid the situation escalating.

How we can help with commercial property disputes

If you are involved in a commercial property dispute, we can intervene on your behalf to try and resolve the issue without delay and without recourse to the courts, which is generally time-consuming and costly.

There are several areas in commercial property agreements that commonly give rise to disagreement and ultimately litigation. We understand how difficult this can be for landlords and we work with our clients to settle issues as quickly as possible and with the least disruption.

Our commercial property team are experienced in all aspects of dispute resolution and can advise and represent you in the following areas:

  • Breach of covenant
  • Rent and service charge recovery
  • Lease forfeiture and possession
  • Lease renewals
  • Dilapidations

Consult our commercial property litigation solicitors in Eastbourne and Hastings

For assistance with any aspect of commercial property or real estate litigation, please contact a member of our team for a no obligation discussion:

Our commercial property litigation services

Breach of covenant

Commercial leases contain a substantial number of covenants that must be adhered to by both the landlord and tenant. These detail what may and may not be done in relation to the premises, such as keeping the property in good repair, obtaining the landlord’s consent if the lease is to be assigned and paying the rent when it is due.

If a covenant is breached by the commercial tenant, it is important that the landlord does not simply ignore this, as this could constitute implied acceptance of the breach. If a breach of contract is held to have been accepted, the right to bring legal action could be forfeited.

If a loss has resulted from the breach of a covenant, then you may be entitled to bring a claim for compensation.

Rent and service charge recovery

If a tenant is struggling financially, they may fail to pay the rent and service charge. Raising this with the tenant before arrears build up is usually the best option. As a landlord, you can weigh up whether you want the tenant to leave or whether you feel it might be commercially beneficial to come to an agreement with the tenant to avoid the time and expense involved in removing them and finding a replacement.

We can suggest possible compromise solutions, such as changing the length of the lease, deferring payment or taking a charge over the tenant’s assets.

If necessary, we can also represent you in the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery procedure, ensuring that you comply with the legal requirements in collecting the overdue rent and any other sums that are due.

Lease forfeiture and possession

If the terms of the lease are breached by the tenant, then the landlord may be able to forfeit the lease and require the tenant to leave.

It is essential that the landlord makes sure they have the right to forfeit the lease before taking this step as it is likely to be extremely damaging to the tenant’s business. It is also important to ensure that the correct procedure is followed throughout.

There is a risk that the tenant could bring a claim for compensation if the landlord ends the lease without proper cause or without going through the proper procedure. If you believe you have the right to end a lease, we can advise and guide you to make sure it is carried out correctly.

Lease renewals

A commercial tenant will generally have security of tenure after six months’ occupation unless this is specifically excluded in the lease. This gives them the right to renew the lease indefinitely unless the lease includes a break clause allowing it to be ended on notice.

If the lease does not contain a break clause, there are a few circumstances in which the landlord can legitimately service notice to quit on the tenant, as follows:

  • Where the terms of the commercial lease have been breached
  • Where the landlord wishes to develop or personally occupy the property
  • Where the premises are divided into units and the landlord would achieve a higher rent if they could lease the whole property in one

If the lease is renewed, then both parties will need to agree on the terms. The tenant is generally entitled to conditions that are at least as beneficial as those in the existing lease.

There is scope for the tenant to make an application to the court if the terms of the lease cannot be agreed, with the terms of the existing lease applying until the matter is heard.

Dilapidations

The condition of the property can often give rise to disputes between commercial landlords and tenants. A commercial lease may require the tenant to hand the property back in a good state of repair when they leaves and this can give rise to disagreements.

If a landlord and tenant cannot agree about any repairs to be made, then negotiations can be entered into to try and resolve the issue.

How we handle commercial property disputes

Pre-action commercial property dispute resolution

It is generally less disruptive and more cost-effective to try to resolve disagreements without recourse to the courts. Our commercial property team are experts at negotiating agreements that allow landlords and tenants to put disputes behind them and concentrate on moving forward with their businesses.

We understand the needs of our commercial clients and we will work with you to suggest a range of possible options for ending your dispute in a way that is acceptable to both you and your tenant.

Taking a commercial property dispute to court

If it is not possible to reach an agreement with your tenant, we will put together a strong case on your behalf to take to court. We will make sure you understand the strengths and any weaknesses of your case and we will give you an estimate of the time it may take and the likely costs involved.

Our litigation solicitors have extensive experience and a strong track record of success in dealing with commercial property disputes.

Find out more about our commercial litigation services.

Our commercial property litigation pricing

We understand the importance of budgeting when it comes to handling commercial property disputes which is why we strive to keep our pricing competitive while maintaining the highest standards of legal advice and client service.

For certain commercial property matters, we are generally able to offer fixed fees. This means that a price will be agreed in advance of the work being completed, allowing you to plan accordingly.

Where this is not possible, potentially due to the complexity of the work, we will inform you of the hourly rates of the individuals we expect to work on your case. This will give you a realistic idea of your likely overall costs.

Find out more about our hourly rates and the way we charge for our work.

Speak to our commercial property dispute solicitors in Eastbourne and Hastings

From our offices in Eastbourne and Hastings, our commercial property law solicitors work with clients all across East Sussex, including in Bexhill-on-Sea, Hailsham, Polegate, Battle, Pevensey and St Leonards-on-Sea.

To find out how we can help resolve your commercial property dispute, please contact our expert team now:

Our business services team

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