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Leasing a business premises is one of the biggest investments you’ll make. It’s a commitment to paying thousands of pounds in rent each month, year after year for 5 to 10 years, perhaps more. In return you secure a place of business: an office, a shop, a restaurant or warehouse to support your livelihood for years to come.
A commercial lease (or commercial tenancy agreement) is a contract between you (the tenant) and the landlord. It sets out your rights to occupy the premises and your obligations to pay rent and abide by the rules set by the landlord. These rules can be complex and vary from lease to lease. They depend on the type of business you run, the premises you’re renting and your bargaining power. Finding the right expert to help you understand and negotiate these rules is vital to ensure you get a fair bargain.
At Lexoo, we let you compare multiple quotes from commercial property solicitors to help make the right decisions. We only send your enquiry to the most relevant solicitors - those with expertise and experience with commercial leases. All our solicitors are insured and are governed by ethical standards, giving you peace of mind that your business is underpinned by a tenancy agreement that reflects your needs.
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Although prices can vary greatly, we’ve seen hundreds of enquiries for commercial property leases come through Lexoo. The fixed-fee quotes we’ve typically seen range between £750 to £1,000 for straightforward leasing transactions for smaller tenancies such as retail shops, cafes and small businesses.
For larger, longer term office leases that require more extensive negotiation, quotes have typically ranged from £3,750 to £6,000 plus government fees and taxes. For example: a commercial office lease over a 4,000 sq ft tenancy, renting for £160,000 per annum over 10 years.
Submitting an enquiry through Lexoo is easy. Just give us the main details, for example:
“I am about to lease a commercial premises in Harrow. The landlord will provide the first draft of the lease, but I would like a commercial property solicitor to review this draft. The Heads of Terms have now been agreed (which I will forward to you), but in brief:
- We will be changing the use of the premises from an office space to a restaurant. We will need the lease to be subject to us gaining planning permission.
- We will be making alterations, so will need a licence for alterations from the landlord.
- The term will be 5 years with a break clause at 18 months and 36 months.
- The rent per annum will be £25,000. There is no initial purchase price.”
(This is a fictional, but typical type of enquiry we’ve been able to help with)
For longer and higher value leases, there are additional fees and taxes payable (your solicitor will typically call these “disbursements”):
Your solicitor will calculate these for you, however the fees themselves are payable to the government.
Other costs and disbursements might include:
Some commercial property solicitors will include these costs in a fixed fee quote, while others will charge them as extras. Make sure you ask your solicitor to specify what’s included and what’s not.
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As the tenant, you’ll generally negotiate the lease with an agent, not the actual landlord. Always remember that the agent acts for the landlord. They have been hired to negotiate the best deal for them, not you.
The first legal document you’ll get is the “Heads of Terms” - a short, precursor agreement to the full lease. It will generally favour the landlord, so start your negotiations here (if not before). Even if you and the landlord are on friendly terms, bear in mind they may one day sell the premises and a new landlord will step in.
A commercial property solicitor can not only help you negotiate the legals, but also give you insights into what’s common market practice in your sector. When the Heads of Terms are agreed, the landlord’s solicitor will issue you a formal lease with all the fine print. There are dozens of considerations and different types of clauses in leases that can benefit you or increase your risk. Here are a handful of things to ask for, and to watch out for:
Watch out for:
And finally, make sure your solicitor has professional indemnity insurance. All the solicitors on Lexoo are not only fully insured, but have been hand-picked by us to make sure you get the right expertise for your legal needs.
Looking for help with buying a business? Read more here.
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