Usually tenants will want to get into a property and start trading as soon as possible. We understand that. Those who have not rented before might not appreciate that there is no national standard type of lease – usually the landlord will prepare the lease to favour themselves. It is important for you to understand what you’re signing and to make legal checks to ensure that the landlord is entitled to grant the lease and to avoid any nasty surprises after you have signed up.
We offer to help you at an early stage so that you can agree the key points at the outset, this involves us:
- Reviewing and advising you on the heads of terms which summarise the main lease terms to be agreed including:
- the length of the lease; rent and other charges payable; rent review; insurance; when and how the lease can end early; the standard of repair you must keep the property in and what rights you have to sublet or transfer the lease;
- Negotiating the Heads of terms and giving you further advice if you need it
Going through this initial process reduces the chances of disappointment later. Do not simply sign the disadvantageous terms the Landlord’s agent posts to you, if you do you will find it very hard to improve the lease terms later as the Landlord and their Solicitor will refuse on the basis that what you are proposing is not what you agreed in the heads of terms.
If the heads of terms are agreed and you wish to proceed with the lease we can do all or some of the following as you wish, depending on how much help you would like from us, we can:
- Raise essential enquiries with the landlord’s solicitors about the property;
- Send off for all usual searches (e.g. land Registry, local authority enquiries, etc), the search results are usually available within 2 weeks;
- Report back to you on the property searches – this must be done before the lease is signed up;
- Review the lease produced by the landlord’s Solicitor. This will normally be one sided in the landlord’s favour and will almost certainly require amendment;
We have particular expertise in spotting problems early and proposing good solutions, for example, capping service charges so you know what the maximum charge will be or negotiating an amendment to the repair standard so your liability is just limited to maintaining the standard of repair and condition of the premises at the start of the lease
- Provide you with a report on the terms of the lease identifying key issues to be dealt with;
- Seek your instructions on the lease report and agree on key issues to be raised in a letter that we will send to the landlord’s solicitors on your behalf;
- Prepare and then negotiate any amendments required with the landlords solicitors in relation to the lease;
- Check that the final lease document reflects your instructions to us;
- Supervise completion of the lease so that it is legally binding
- Subject to you placing us in funds, pay money e.g. rent deposit and advance etc to the Landlord
Our fees are proportionate to how much work you ask us to do, some clients want the full advice and representation service and others just want us to review the lease document they are asked to sign. We tailor our service and our fee to suit you.
A satisfactory survey is particularly vital before entering into a repairing lease where you would be responsible for putting premises into the condition required by the lease and maintaining the required state of repair. A survey is also important where you agree to maintain premises to the standard of repair existing at the beginning of the lease; a Surveyor will be able to record the state of repair for you. Please contact us if you would like us to refer you to a Surveyor.