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Advice for business

Commercial Leases

Whether you are a commercial landlord or tenant, your commercial lease will be a valuable resource and the key to managing a successful relationship. Not only does its terms provide the tenant with the right to occupy to the commercial property, it will govern the day-to-day landlord-tenant relationship and set out terms for resolving disputes.


At Frettens, our specialist Commercial Property and Landlord & Tenant Team have a high level of experience drafting and reviewing commercial leases and helping parties resolve disputes. We can assist with the legal aspects of negotiating the terms of your lease and ensure that your commercial interests are protected and promoted.

For tenants, we seek security and flexibility, allowing you to run your business comfortably while giving you space to grow and evolve. We advise a wide range of businesses, from start-ups and entrepreneurs looking for their first premises to established companies looking to move or expand the business.

For landlords, we advise in relation to a wide range of commercial property types, including office space; retail premises; industrial and warehouse space; and hospitality premises, such as hotels, pubs and restaurants. We can help you maximise the value of your investment and protect your interests.

Our commercial lease solicitors are happy to offer all new clients a free initial consultation to discuss the particulars of their matter, form a strategy and recommend a way forward.

Expert commercial lease advice in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, Ringwood and the New Forest

We have offices in Christchurch and Ringwood. Our commercial lease lawyers also cover Bournemouth, Poole, and the New Forest, with the majority of our clients located in the Bournemouth and Poole area.

If you live in Bournemouth or Poole:

Please do not be put off by our location and please do not hesitate to contact us. Our landlord & tenant solicitors will be very happy to speak with you.

Our commercial lease solicitors’ expertise

Drafting and reviewing commercial leases

Putting in place the right commercial lease terms is the foundation of the landlord-tenant relationship. We can help you negotiate a strong lease agreement that covers all vital aspects of your relationship, including:

  • Details of the rent
  • Extent of the lease term
  • Rent review details
  • Service charges
  • Maintenance, repairs and dilapidations
  • Termination and break clauses
  • Subletting and assignment
  • Insurance
  • Lease renewal and security of tenure

Transferring a commercial lease

Details of whether a tenant can assign or sublet their commercial lease will typically be set out in the lease agreement. We can review your lease and provide advice about the steps to transfer the lease.

In most cases, a lease can be transferred with the permission of the landlord or where the lease document is silent on assignment or subletting. In some cases, the lease may bar the transfer of the lease or any subletting.

However, it is sometimes possible to negotiate with the landlord on this point – this is where the advice and support of a specialist commercial lease solicitor can really help. The landlord may request a guarantee of rent or place other obligations on the new tenant. We advise both landlords and tenants in relation to this.

Ending a commercial lease

Whatever reason you want to end your commercial tenancy for, the terms on which you may do so will be defined by the lease document. We can help you explore the options available to you.

Many leases include break clauses which allow one or both parties to end the lease upon certain conditions, such as an event or a specific date. We can provide advice about construing break clauses and addressing disputes that may arise from such provisions.

We also have significant expertise advising landlords about commercial rent arrears and regaining possession of the property. We will set out your legal rights in plain language and provide advice on the best strategy for regaining possession or resolving the issue with minimal disruption to your life or business.

Commercial lease disputes

Our Commercial Property Team often work closely with our Commercial Dispute Resolution Team to help landlords and tenants resolve all types of lease dispute, from dilapidation and repairs issues to rent reviews and renewal disputes to repossession matters. We approach all disputes with a business mindset to help individuals and businesses find a constructive resolution while minimising risk, managing reputation, and keeping costs proportionate.

In most cases, we are able to take a non-confrontational approach, using alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration wherever necessary. We are also fierce litigators and have considerable experience representing individuals and businesses in a wide range of complex and high value court proceedings.

Expert commercial lease advice in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, Ringwood and the New Forest

We have bright, modern and accessible offices in Christchurch and Ringwood, but our excellent IT systems allow us to work with clients from all across the country.

All new clients can have a free initial meeting with one of our bright experts. These can take place over a coffee at one of our offices, by phone or video conference. Call us on 01202 499 255 or fill in the get in touch form on this page to arrange yours. 


    FAQs - Transferring a Commercial Lease

    Are commercial leases transferrable?

    In most cases the lease is transferrable with the consent of the landlord. However, some leases contain an absolute bar on assignment or underletting so it is important to review the relevant provisions within the lease, which will also detail the requirements of the landlord on any assignment or underletting. In this case the landlord may still be prepared to give consent but is entitled to refuse it.

    Can I back out of a lease I just signed?

    You usually just can't back out of the lease, as it is a commitment for the entire term. If you are having difficulties, you should discuss this with your landlord to see if they are able to assist. If your lease has a break clause, you can exercise that or try one of the other alternative referred to above.

    Are there restrictions on transferring a lease?

    Almost every commercial lease contains restrictions on assigning, subletting or otherwise transferring the leased premises to another party and will detail any requirements for transferring the lease.

    Ben Cobb is a Solicitor in the Commercial Property team. He says â€Åâ€Åâ€Å“These restrictions are reasonable in concept from the perspective of the landlord, so as not to have tenants circumvent the landlord's control of the premises.”

    How do I attain the landlord's consent for lease transfer?

    Obtaining landlord’s consent may seem a simple matter but it can never be regarded as a mere formality.

    Ben warns â€Åâ€Åâ€Å“Failing to obtain the landlord’s consent when it is required can lead to severe financial penalties. Consent should always be recorded in a formal document to avoid arguments.”

    An application for consent to assign should usually be sent to the landlord or its agents.

    The tenant will be liable for the landlord’s costs whether or not the application is approved (although it may be possible to get the assignee to pay if the assignment is completed).

    The landlord is entitled to ask for further documentation or information regarding the potential tenant, in order to make a decision.

    Can a landlord refuse consent for commercial lease transfer?

    Most leases will say that the landlord cannot â€Åâ€Å“unreasonably” withhold consent, but in any case a proviso to the effect that consent is not to be unreasonably withheld will be implied by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927.

    The Landlord and Tenant Act 1988 also states that a landlord owes a duty to the tenant to give consent except in a case where it is reasonable not to give consent. The landlord may give consent subject to conditions.

    The landlord is also under a duty to deal with an application within a reasonable time and must give the tenant written notice of his decision whether or not to give consent. If the consent is withheld the landlord must specify its reasons for withholding it.

    Ben says â€Åâ€Å“Of course, the tenant may not agree with the landlord’s reasons if consent is withheld. If the landlord cannot be persuaded to change its mind, it is possible to challenge the decision in the courts, but this can be difficult and expensive.”

    What is a break clause for a commercial property?

    A clause within the lease that enables you to bring your tenancy to an end before the expiry of the contractual term.

    What does a break clause look like?

    Every break clause is different and it is important that you read and understand your break clause carefully. The main types of break clauses are called rolling breaks and fixed-date break. A rolling break usually allows the lease to end at any time on giving a certain amount of notice. A fixed-date break will only permit a break on a set date, so it is particularly important that you get the service of notices correct with these type of break clauses.

    How do you activate a break clause?

    Again, every break clause is different. They will usually be quite prescriptive as to what must be included in the notice, who it must be served on, how it is to be served and if there are any conditions attached to the ability to break.