As commercial property specialists, we have seen our fair share of lease disputes and rent arrears cases. These issues can be a real headache for businesses, especially when it comes to navigating the legalities involved. That’s why we wanted to share some tips that could help should you ever find yourself in such a situation.
Over recent years there has been a number of changes that affect businesses. In March 2020, the Coronavirus Act was passed, which provided temporary measures to protect commercial tenants during the pandemic. For example, landlords were unable to forfeit a commercial lease for non-payment of rent until at least June 2021.
As of June 2021, the suspension on forfeiture has ended, and landlords can now take legal action to recover rent arrears. However, the government has encouraged landlords and tenants to take a collaborative approach in resolving issues, and has introduced measures such as the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) scheme to help businesses negotiate payment plans with their landlords.
If your business finds themselves in a dispute or rent arrears with your landlord, here are a few useful tips to remember;
1. Communicate with your landlord
In our experience, one of the most common causes of lease disputes and rent arrears is a breakdown in communication between tenant and landlord. If you are struggling to make your rent payments, or if there is an issue with the property, make sure to communicate this to your landlord as soon as possible. Many disputes can be resolved by simply talking things out and finding a mutually beneficial solution.
2. Understand your lease agreement
Your lease agreement is a legally binding document, so it’s important to understand all aspects of it. This includes the length of the lease, rent payment terms, and any clauses that may relate to repairs and alterations. If you’re unsure about any aspect of your lease, make sure to ask your solicitor for advice.
3. Keep accurate records
It’s important to keep accurate records of all rent payments and communications with your landlord. This can be useful if a dispute arises and you need to provide evidence to support your case. Make sure to keep copies of all correspondence and receipts from rent payments.
4. Seek legal advice
If you do find yourself in a lease dispute or rent arrears situation, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A solicitor with expertise in this area can help you to understand your legal position and provide guidance on how to proceed. They can also represent you in negotiations with your landlord or in court if necessary.
5. Consider alternative dispute resolution
Going to court should always be considered a last resort. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation or arbitration, can often be more efficient and cost-effective in resolving lease disputes and rent arrears. ADR methods allow both parties to come to a mutually beneficial agreement without the need for a lengthy court battle.
It is important to remember that if your business is facing a lease dispute or rent arrears, you should seek legal advice. The emotion and stress of such a situation can often have a detrimental affect on the handling of these types of issues, and a lack of understand of an ever changing legal landscape can leave pitfalls you would much sooner wish to avoid. Our team of specialists can provide accurate, current legal advice on your situation, whilst also diffusing the tension in a dispute that might feel all too personal, by being a buffer between you and the landlord.
Is it too late to get legal support if I already have one of these problems?
No, it is not too late to get legal support even if you already have one of these problems
An experienced legal team can help identify the issue and provide advice and assistance on how to address it.
This can help to minimise potential losses and ensure that the company is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
How to get help
At Johnson and Boon we specialise in a range of commercial property services that can be tailored to suit your requirements. Simply contact a member of our team for a chat on 0151 637 2034, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact us form on our website.