Services for Business

Commercial Landlord and Tenant Disputes

Despite having the best of intentions and a desire to maintain good relations, disputes between commercial landlords and tenants are sometimes unavoidable.

How can mfg help commercial landlords and tenants?

We have a specialist team of experienced lawyers who can offer help in the following areas:

  • Bringing or defending claims for possession
  • Terminating and/or renewing tenancies
  • Pursuing recovery of rent and/or service charge arrears
  • Dealing with claims for dilapidations and disrepairs
  • Enforcing lease obligations
  • Dealing with contested rent reviews
  • Pursuing claims against guarantors/sureties

Our dual perspective on landlord and tenant issues and understanding of the pressures and concerns facing both sides give us unique insight into the best ways to resolve these disputes. Our goal is to help you find a harmonious solution which is focused on promoting your rights and financial interests. If it is necessary to go to court, we will provide robust representation, giving you the best possible chance of achieving a successful outcome.

How do I evict a commercial tenant?

We can provide advice if you are a landlord whose tenant refuses to leave your property even after you have forfeited the lease. Our service includes:

  • Advising on whether forfeiture is an option
  • Serving notice for breach of covenant if unrelated to non-payment of rent
  • Applying to court for a Possession Order to repossess the property
  • Defending applications for relief from forfeiture

We can also enforce the Possession Order by instructing county court bailiffs or escalating the matter to the High Court.

What can I do if my commercial landlord has forfeited the lease or issued possession proceedings?

If you are a tenant facing eviction from your commercial property, we can provide a robust defence. Our service includes:

  • Advice on the legality of your eviction
  • Defending possession proceedings
  • Applying for relief from forfeiture

What is relief from forfeiture?

Even if you are in breach of your commercial lease and your landlord has forfeited the lease by changing the locks, a commercial tenant can still apply for relief from forfeiture by asking the Court to allow you time to resolve the situation, although you will normally be ordered to pay any arrears and your landlord’s costs.

How do I terminate a commercial lease during the term of the lease?

We can provide advice on the mechanisms for ending a commercial lease during its term, including:

  1. Surrender

Where, by mutual agreement, the tenant surrenders the lease to the landlord. Usually, a surrender must be made by deed which requires precise legal drafting. Surrender can also be implied where the conduct of both parties is inconsistent with the continuation of the tenancy.

  1. Forfeiture

This allows a landlord to end a fixed term lease where it has been breached by the tenant. For all breaches other than rent arrears, the landlord needs to serve notice. The tenant may be able to apply for relief from forfeiture, for example, if they subsequently pay the outstanding rent.

  1. Break clauses

These are terms included within a lease which allow either the landlord or tenant (or both) to end the lease before the expiry of the term. Usually, a certain amount of time must have elapsed or an event occurred. We can carefully scrutinise the lease on your behalf to check you are within your rights to exercise the break clause.

My commercial lease is about to expire, what can I do?

Most commercial tenants have a right to renew their tenancy which provides them with security and certainty about the future of their business. However, it is also possible to exclude the right to renew within the terms of the lease. Even if this is the case, you can still agree a renewal with your landlord/tenant.

Whether you are a landlord and tenant, for your own benefit, you may want to commence a formal lease renewal at the end of your tenancy to negotiate matters such as the terms, length of tenancy, and rental figure. We can guide and facilitate this process, utilising years of experience to achieve a favourable outcome.

What are my rights as a commercial landlord if my tenants do not pay their rent?

Business is not always plain sailing and sometimes it may be difficult for a tenant to keep up with the rent or service charges. For the sake of preserving previously successful landlord/tenant relationships, we like to encourage cooperative negotiation wherever possible. In many situations, arrears disputes can be resolved informally without resorting to court or forfeiting the lease, however, there are also other means of recovering rent such as Commercial Rent Arrears recovery and we will advise you of the best route to take if the dispute cannot be resolved informally.

As a commercial tenant, can I challenge service charges demanded by my landlord?

We have expertise in contesting unfair service charges which will include reviewing the terms of the lease and the nature of the works taken place to consider whether you have any ammunition with which to challenge the amount of service charges.

What is a dilapidations claim?

Dilapidations are a damages payment to a landlord of a commercial property for the repair and making good of defects which have occurred during a tenant’s occupation.

Both landlords and tenants should be fully aware of their repairing obligations in the event you need to make or defend a dilapidations claim. Sorting out dilapidations issues before or as soon as they arise can save you considerable time and money, especially where they also arise in the context of service charge disputes, lease renewals, and (for tenants in particular) conditional break clauses.

Wherever possible, we will help you avoid the expense and stress of lengthy court proceedings. We will address your dilapidations and disrepair matter strategically, negotiating thoroughly to achieve an outcome which preserves the landlord/tenant relationship (if it is to continue) whilst achieving a positive outcome for you.

Who pays for a schedule of dilapidations?

At the end of a lease, commercial tenants are normally liable for the costs of their landlord instructing a chartered surveyor to carry out a dilapidations survey and prepare a schedule of dilapidations, and for the costs of any repairs that are needed to reinstate the property to the condition stated in the lease covenant.

If a schedule of dilapidations is served on you, we can advise you on how best to ensure you are not paying for works that you are not liable for under the terms of the lease. This can often mean that your landlord’s claim can be reduced substantially.

What are the consequences if a commercial landlord or tenant is in breach of their lease?

If your landlord or tenant is failing to comply with their obligations under the terms of the lease, we can provide practical advice about how to enforce your rights. We have a wide range of expertise in lease enforcement action, including structural repairs and maintenance, nuisance, parking, and insurance issues.

What do I do if I receive a rent review notice from my commercial landlord?

We provide advice to landlords and tenants in relation to rent reviews and negotiations. Tenants should never accept a new rent without taking specialist legal advice. Similarly, landlords should ensure they are following the correct procedure and are able to achieve a figure which is fair to them.

Our advice includes reviewing the terms of the lease to establish the provisions detailing how the rent review should be conducted, taking into account any individual circumstances such as the condition of the property and work that needs to be undertaken.

I am a guarantor under a commercial lease – how long am I liable for?

We advise landlords, tenants and guarantors for tenants in relation to guarantees or sureties under commercial leases. We will carefully examine the wording of the guarantee to establish the extent of the guarantor’s liability and provide advice in relation to enforcing the guarantee or defending against enforcement.

Why choose mfg solicitors for your commercial landlord and tenant dispute?

mfg Solicitors is a regional law firm based in the West Midlands. We have a wide range of commercial and corporate law expertise, including the effective resolution of landlord and tenant disputes.

When it comes to commercial landlord and tenant matters, we are more than just legal advisers. Each member of our team is a specialist in their field with the business acumen, strategic insight, and negotiation skills to find a resolution which works for you. Whether you are a tenant trying to protect your business or a landlord seeking to maximise the value of your property, we will adapt our advice to your individual goals and objectives.

Get in touch with our commercial landlord and tenant disputes solicitors for further information and specialist advice. We have local branches across the West Midlands in BromsgroveKidderminsterLudlowTelfordWorcester, and Birmingham. Alternatively, please feel free to fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

You can also email us or phone us on 0845 55 55 321.