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Surrendering a lease for commercial premises

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If your business requirements have changed, and you need to get out of your current lease, a surrender can be an attractive option - as long as your landlord is willing to agree.  Alternatively, your landlord may want the property back for redevelopment...

High street rental auctions - a guide for landlords

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The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 will give local authorities new powers to hold rental auctions of empty high street properties if landlords do not find tenants for themselves.  The relevant parts of the legislation are not yet in force, but ...

Due diligence on a commercial property acquisition

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If you are considering buying a commercial property, it is up to you to find out as much as possible about the property and the surrounding area before you commit yourself.  You will need a solicitor to carry out formal searches of public data and look...

The hedge and ditch presumption

Leanne Kitson
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Yours or mine? Hedge your bets Gazing over the rolling countryside, it is common to be immediately aware of the obvious boundaries between parcels of land. Whether it’s stone walls, hedges, natural ditches or fencing; the boundaries tend to be...

A landlord's liability for a commercial tenant's activities

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The most successful commercial landlords take an active approach to managing their properties, and there is more to this than making sure the building is well-maintained. It is also important to check that your tenants are not causing a nuisance to others or...

A tenant's guide to business leases and 'contracting out'

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If you take a lease of business premises, your landlord may ask you to ‘contract out’ of statutory rights that apply to business tenancies.  Before making that decision, you need expert legal advice to understand what rights you are giving...

I want my property back now please

Emily Watson
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Whether it’s a house, an office building, farmland or other type of property, where it’s occupied by somebody other than the owner, it’s in the interests of both parties that the terms under which it’s occupied are clear and...

Register land with Land Registry before going to market

Emily Darke
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Have you checked recently that your registered titles reflect who is entitled to your land – and is their interest protected by a restriction? Like many other landowners, you may have been encouraged to register land voluntarily with Land Registry...

A tenant's guide to commercial service charges

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Commercial tenants will know that the rent they pay is only one part of the overall cost of occupying their premises.  A service charge is another significant cost and, unlike rent, it can fluctuate from year to year depending on what the landlord...

Overage agreements if you are selling land for development

Emily Watson
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Are you selling land that you think the buyer might profitably develop but are not sure how to secure a share of the future development value? If you are selling land that you think is ripe for development, overage (also known as a...

Charity premises and land transactions

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Charities enjoy favourable tax status but must follow a range of statutory rules, and this includes obligations in regard to leasing premises and property transactions.  The trustees must take care to follow the proper process if they want to sell or...

RAAC risk from a landlord's perspective

James Cornforth
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RAAC (‘Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete’) has been the centre of a recent media storm. A cheaper but weaker alternative to traditional concrete, RAAC was a popular building material in the 1950s especially within public buildings has been...

What are your rights when a commercial tenant goes bust?

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In challenging economic conditions, commercial property landlords must be prepared for tenants to hit financial difficulties and for some to go out of business.  If your tenant becomes insolvent, there are legal restrictions on the kind of action you...

Advice on undocumented or unregistered leases

Anthony Baines
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Whether it’s tenancies that haven’t been put in writing or other undocumented property arrangements, it’s not uncommon for property owners or occupiers to face difficulties when needing to understand and prove their rights in relation to...

What is a FRI lease?

Emily Watson
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A full repairing and insuring (FRI) lease is one that places the responsibility of repair and maintenance of the premises onto the tenant. The tenant may undertake them directly or they may contribute to their cost by way of a service charge. The tenant must...

Top tips for preparing to sell your commercial property

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In a bumpy market, it pays to be well-prepared before you put your commercial property on the market. Your solicitor will help you to be ready for the kinds of questions you should expect from prospective buyers as they and their solicitors carry out due...

Solar panels - generating electricity on your commercial building

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Commercial landlords are increasingly keen to show that their buildings are sustainable.  With energy prices high and continuing uncertainty in the global energy markets, producing renewable energy on commercial buildings is more attractive than ever....

Avoiding problems with easements on commercial land

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If a neighbouring landowner uses part of your land for something, such as access or drainage, it is likely that they will have a formal right known as an easement.  This could restrict your ability to redevelop or extend existing buildings on your...

Terminating a commercial lease: Can you end a tenancy agreement early?

Elizabeth Sugden (nee Simpson)
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As a commercial tenant, what are your options for ending your lease early? There may be circumstances in which you wish to terminate your lease prior to the end of the period for which it was granted. This can be for several reasons, including if you...

How to negotiate a turnover rent for retail premises

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Turnover rents are increasingly common in retail lettings.  In challenging times, they appeal to tenants because both the landlord and tenant share the risk of trade being adversely affected by the state of the wider economy.  Landlords would...

Liability of former commercial tenants and guarantors

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If your tenant defaults on the rent or breaches their commercial lease in some other way, you may be able to call on a former tenant or a guarantor to pay arrears or remedy breaches. This will only be possible if you follow the correct process and act...

Top tips for commercial tenants exercising a break clause

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If you are a business tenant, a break clause in your commercial lease gives you valuable flexibility to move out if circumstances change, but the law on break clauses is full of traps for tenants.  If you want to be certain of ending your lease...

Selling spare land on a commercial site

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If you own a commercial property which is larger than you need, selling part of it could be a good way to release value.  Before you start, it is vital to have a clear idea of how the division will work from a practical point of view. This will ensure...

Agreements with highways authorities

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If you develop a site and your scheme includes new roads, you will probably want to get them adopted by the local highways authority.  This will shift the long-term burden of maintenance to the highways authority, but there may be short term costs...

Buying your first commercial property

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Many would-be investors are drawn to commercial property.  Even in times of economic uncertainty, people like the idea of investing in bricks and mortar which can feel more real than a purely financial investment.  A commercial property can be the...

Key lease negotiation points for landlords

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Whether negotiating a new commercial lease, or renegotiating an existing one, it is important to plan ahead and be clear about your desired outcomes and where you have flexibility to compromise. Your negotiating position will be influenced by the...

Key points when negotiating a promotion agreement for your land

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If you own land which may have potential for development, or you have already been approached by a developer, the chances are you have considered the pros and cons of a promotion agreement.  This can be a great way for a landowner to benefit from a...

Legal issues following major damage to your premises

Aoife Hennessy
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BT handled over 33 million 999 calls last year, of which a significant number would have led to the emergency services attending business premises. An emergency can arise from many foreseen and unforeseen situations, the most common being fire, flood,...

Developing on brownfield building land

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In a world where green space is increasingly valued for its role in fighting climate change, it makes sense to reuse previously developed sites, often referred to as brownfield land.  It may be easier to get planning consent to develop brownfield land...

Register of Overseas Entities

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Legal Update: The Register of Overseas Entities came into force on 1 August 2022, with the aim of making UK property ownership by foreign companies and entities clearer and more transparent. Generally speaking, foreign companies and entities who own, intend...

The Building Safety Act 2022

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Building Safety Act 2022 – impact on developers, contractors and landlords The Building Safety Act 2022 is the Government’s response to the tragic Grenfell fire, and the first parts of the Act came into force on 28 June 2022. While the focus...

Letting your tenant go: consenting to assignment and underletting

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If you are a landlord of commercial property, you will have chosen your tenants carefully.  A landlord wants to be sure that a tenant will pay the rent and service charge, and that the tenant will comply with the obligations in the lease so that the...

Redeveloping commercial property around your tenant

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Redeveloping parts of a building in your portfolio, to create a more flexible layout or perhaps add additional floors, can be a good way to enhance investment value.  This is easiest in a vacant building, but you may have good tenants and want to...

Taking your first commercial lease

Paige Phillips
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Some of the world’s most successful companies have started at home or in a garage, but at some point, it makes sense to move to business premises.  Committing to your first commercial lease is an important step in the life of a young business and...

Securing a good commercial tenant

Amy Clarkson
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A landlord's main purpose in letting property is to secure an income stream, so the tenant's ability to pay the rent throughout the term is fundamental.  High-profile insolvencies, such as the collapse of Toys R Us and Maplin, show that even...

Renegotiating a commercial lease

Elizabeth Sugden (nee Simpson)
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News stories about well-known retailers forcing landlords to renegotiate commercial leases as part of a voluntary insolvency arrangement have encouraged some tenants to ask for a better deal.  A lease is a formal contract and, unless a tenant is...

Understanding the insurance provisions in your commercial lease

Paige Phillips
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The insurance provisions in commercial leases tend to get glossed over when the lease is being negotiated, but they can have important practical implications.  In particular, a commercial landlord should check the terms of the lease and get legal advice...

Commercial property, green space, and The Queen's Green Canopy

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From individual landowners to corporate developers, everyone is being encouraged to play their part in enhancing our environment by planting trees for The Queen’s Green Canopy, an initiative to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. ...

Your commercial property portfolio - time to restructure?

Amy Clarkson
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A commercial property portfolio is just like any other investment - to get the best out of it, you need to manage it well, and sometimes it will benefit from being restructured. The unforeseen impact of Covid-19 on the whole of the UK economy has underlined...

Agricultural Land - The benefits of being registered

Amy Clarkson
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A significant percentage of land in England and Wales is still unregistered and a large part of that is agricultural and rural land. Why?  Well, agricultural land often remains within the same ownership for decades and land which was purchased before...

Buying a freehold investment property

Elizabeth Sugden (nee Simpson)
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If you are looking to invest in commercial premises; either as a base to run your business from, or as the start of a property portfolio which you plan to manage and let out to tenants, your two main options are either taking on a lease or buying the...

Consent to lease assignment - quick guide for commercial landlords

Paige Phillips
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A sensible landlord will take great care when picking an initial tenant and should exercise the same caution when deciding whether that tenant should be allowed to assign their lease to someone else.  The difficulty with an assignment is that the...

Restrictive covenants and development sites

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Even the most promising development can be knocked off course if the land is subject to a restrictive covenant.  Restrictions of this sort can prevent land being built on or being used for specific purposes for many years, even if the development has...

Selling your land through a conditional contract

Amy Clarkson
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If a developer wants to buy your land you will want them to sign on the dotted line as soon as possible.  But what if planning permission is required before the development can go ahead or you need the agreement of your neighbour to release you from a...

Building Regulations update - Electric Vehicle Charging Points

Elizabeth Sugden (nee Simpson)
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New legislation taking effect from 15 June 2022 requires all new homes, construction projects, workplace, and retail buildings to install electric vehicle (EV) charging points. Currently, the UK lacks the electric charging infrastructure which is needed to...

The effect on lease renewal rent following the pandemic

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When you enter into a commercial lease, your solicitor may talk to you about the lease being “contracted out” or not having “security of tenure”. What this means is that certain provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954...

Renewing or extending your commercial lease

Ian Barnard
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When a commercial lease is due to end, both landlord and tenant will consider their business plans to decide whether they want to put a new or extended lease in place.  Many business tenants have an automatic statutory right to ask for a new lease when...

Resolving a commercial dilapidations claim

Aoife Hennessy
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It is not uncommon for commercial landlords and tenants to disagree about the extent to which repair, redecoration and reinstatement obligations have been complied with when a lease comes to an end. Disputes of this nature are known as a ‘dilapidations...

Dealing with Trespasses

Neil Largan
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Trespass can be a concern to many landowners; not only does it present a security risk to the property but can also cause nuisance and damage. Trespass may happen in many ways including but not limited to; an individual simply walking over your land where...

Securing access for a commercial property

Ian Barnard
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Once a commercial tenant has agreed a lease and moved into business premises, they will rely on having unobstructed access to easily enter the premises for the purposes of their business.  Unless premises sit alongside a public road, they will probably...

Buying offices as an investment

Ian Barnard
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The best investment property will be one where the fundamentals are right.  It should be in a suitable location, in sound structural condition, and ideally give you scope to upgrade and reconfigure the internal layout to appeal to a range of tenants. ...

Buying an asset-based business - what to look out for?

Ian Barnard
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If you are contemplating buying another business, then you will have been suitably impressed with the sale particulars.  But these do not tell the whole story and when you decide to acquire the assets of a business you will want to satisfy yourself that...

Christmas trading - implications for landlords and tenants

Ian Barnard
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Retail, leisure, and hospitality businesses will be banking on a good festive season this year. Shops will want to stay open for longer and may want to add to their usual offer, to attract as much footfall as possible. Landlords with empty units will be...

Property and Land Law

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Key points to consider as part of your business and farming family resilience.   When considering the issue of resilience specifically in connection with your agricultural business there are certain points where our team of specialist land law...

Commercial property considerations for damage by insured risks

Ian Barnard
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Commercial landlords rely on insurance to cover the cost of repairing damage to their investment property beyond normal wear and tear, and business tenants expect a rent holiday if they cannot use their premises.  Many commercial landlords and tenants,...

Making your commercial property portfolio more sustainable

Ian Barnard
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Growing evidence of climate change has put sustainability firmly on the commercial property agenda.  Owners, occupiers, and lenders are increasingly focused on ‘ESG’ which refers to environmental, social and governance issues.  Lenders...

Rent moratorium, arbitration and recent judgment for landlords

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The Coronavirus Act 2020 currently prevents landlords evicting commercial tenants for non-payment of rent. This restriction will, in principle, remain in place until 25 March 2022. This rent moratorium was first introduced in March 2020 as part of the...

Landlord options if a tenant breaches repair obligations

Ian Barnard
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Making sure a commercial property is well maintained is one of a landlord’s key priorities, and it is almost as important as getting in the rent. Under a full repairing and insuring lease; the tenant is obliged to keep the property in a good state of...

Pitfalls to avoid in contract pricing in commercial agreements

Ian Barnard
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If you are a fan of Marmite or Hellman’s mayonnaise, you may recall a brief dispute that broke out between Tesco and Unilever in late 2016 which led to the supermarket temporarily suspending the sale of a range of popular branded products. The dispute...

Obligations under a full repairing and insuring commercial lease

Ian Barnard
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Keeping commercial property insured and in good repair is important for both landlords and tenants, but for slightly different reasons.  The tenant wants to be able to run a business from a well-maintained property.  The landlord’s chief...

Considerations for landowners relating to legal rights around water drainage and sewers

Ian Barnard
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Water, drainage, and sewers might be out of sight, but should not be out of mind for commercial property owners . The legal rights relating to water drainage in the UK are complex and important, especially for properties prone to flooding.  ...

What are private rights of way over land

Elizabeth Sugden (nee Simpson)
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Often, access to agricultural land requires a right of way over someone else’s neighbouring land or a private road/track which has not been adopted by the Highways Authority. A right of way is an easement. This is a right for one landowner to use...

Recovery of commercial rent arrears accrued during the pandemic

Neil Largan
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Before the coronavirus struck, the options for landlords looking to recover commercial rent arrears were extensive.  Depending on the circumstances, you could use the statutory commercial rent arrears recovery procedure (CRAR), effect forfeiture by...

Ten key negotiating points when taking a new commercial lease

Ian Barnard
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When a landlord and tenant try to settle the terms for a new commercial lease, each party will have clear objectives.  The landlord wants a secure income stream and confidence that the property will be left in good condition at the end of the...

Anthony Baines demonstrates our Service Pledge

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Anthony Baines, a Senior Associate Solicitor in our Commercial Property team, has truly demonstrated his commitment and delivery of our Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors Service Pledge. Our Service Pledge has 8 commitments, and we work together as a team to...

Extending your commercial property

Ian Barnard
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If your business is expanding, you may have outgrown your current premises.  Before you start looking for a new site, it is worth investigating whether you could extend your existing property.  Depending on the site and the nature of your building,...

Site assembly for development

Ian Barnard
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If you have a great idea for developing a piece of unused land, you may find that you need to get control of some neighbouring property to provide access or just to make the development large enough to be financially viable.  Assembling a site can be...

Resolving a commercial lease dispute in a recession

Neil Largan
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With the UK economy currently in the deepest recession since records began, disputes between landlords and tenants are beginning to rise as pressure mounts on commercial occupiers to find ways to diversify and slash overheads in order to survive...

Five key benefits of registering your farmland

Elizabeth Sugden (nee Simpson)
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Unregistered land is land which is not registered with the Land Registry. In order to prove ownership, the owner of the land must produce historical title deeds which are complex and can sometimes be ambiguous. The Land Registry estimates that approximately...

Legal tips for optimising the sale value of commercial property

Ian Barnard
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If you are reviewing your commercial property portfolio, you may decide that the time is right to sell some of your property.  It goes without saying that you will want to get the best possible value from the sale.  Prices are strongly affected...

Can I change the use of my business premises?

Ian Barnard
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If the pandemic has left you with empty commercial property , now could be a good time to look for alternative uses.  To help businesses make the best use of commercial real estate, the Government has made the planning rules more flexible so that it...

Leasehold Reform - making home ownership fair and more secure

Elizabeth Sugden (nee Simpson)
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On 7 January 2021, changes came into force which enable leaseholders to extend their leases by up to 990 years without the need to pay any ground rent. There are currently approximately 4.5 million leaseholders in the UK who face paying high ground rents...

Exiting your commercial lease - what are the options?

Ian Barnard
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‘ If your business is struggling and you lease your premises, it might be tempting to simply hand back the keys and walk away from your lease ,’ says Ian Barnard, Director and commercial property solicitor with Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors in...

Coronavirus - advice for employers

Ian Barnard
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As concerns over the Coronavirus increase, we are finding that a lot of employers are asking our advice in relation to their obligations towards their employees. Coronavirus – What is it? “Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses...

A helpful guide to taking a commercial lease

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Taking a commercial lease represents a huge investment and commitment with regards to time and finances for a business. We have therefore set out below a guide with the basic steps of obtaining a commercial lease . ...

Top 10 tips for renting an industrial or commercial property

Duncan Morter
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Our Commercial Property team have put together the following top 10 tips for you to consider when looking to rent an industrial or commercial property. Be prepared – consider the property you are looking to rent, how much space do you need? How...

Newly qualified solicitor to Managing Director in 20 years

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September 2019 has seen Duncan Morter, Managing Director at legal firm Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors, celebrate 20 years at the firm. After graduating from Cambridge University in 1995 and obtaining a Distinction at Law School, Duncan completed his legal...

Guide to signing a commercial lease

Duncan Morter
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There is a lot you need to know before you sign a commercial lease. Read our guide on the key considerations to review when you are in the position of signing a commercial lease. The considerations when taking or granting a commercial lease are many, and...

Do commercial tenants have rights?

Duncan Morter
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Commercial tenants do have rights but they are more limited than residential tenants. Commercial tenants may have the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Find out if the Act applies to you as a commercial tenant as well as information on...

News update for Landlords on MEES Regulation

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Landlords need to be aware of environmental legislation requirements before letting their properties. This is called the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulation. The main aim behind this is to prevent Landlords from renting out residential and...

Business Banking Switch - Royal Bank of Scotland customer?

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If you are a Williams & Glyn (division of Royal Bank of Scotland) customer, and your business has an annual turnover of less than £25 million then you may be eligible for incentives to switch your banking to another provider. Summary of what is...

Allowing a mast onto your land or even renewing an old agreement?

Ian Barnard
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For many landowners, an attractive way to utilise their land without creating too much disruption to their core farming business, was to allow telecommunication masts to be erected on their land. Whilst not visually attractive, the masts would generally be...

Thinking of buying a second residential property?

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Are you an individual thinking of purchasing a second residential property in the UK? Whether it is that holiday home you have always dreamed of or a buy-to-let property then there is a higher rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) that you need to be made aware...

Exciting Times in Food and Drink

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It is an exciting time to be in the food and drink sector in Yorkshire. An interesting article from Bdaily.com can be found here showing excellent growth over the last 12 months for Yorkshire and Humber food and drink exports. There has been an 11%...

New Appointment Announcement

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Joseph McCullough has recently joined the Commercial Property team at Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors. Joseph will be focusing his 10 years of experience acting for both landlords and tenants, on servicing the many independent shops and café’s of...

Landlords: Changes to EPC ratings are coming, are you prepared?

Duncan Morter
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What are the new Regulations? The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards Regulations (MEES) set out the minimum level of energy efficiency for properties in England and Wales. From 1 April 2018, it will be unlawful for landlords of non-domestic private...

Why trademark your brand?

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If you were asked why it is important to protect your brand, I’m sure you could supply an endless list of motives. However, the common misconception lies in how to do this effectively. Simply registering your business name at Companies House or...

Buying a small business?

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Many people decide to purchase a small business as a going concern, be it a pub, bed and breakfast, cafe, or something a little more unique.  You might already have a lot of experience in how to run the particular business (or, at the very least, bags...

Data Protection; Get it Right

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The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has recently imposed fines on several organisations for data breaches: Hampshire County Council was fined 100,000 for failing to implement effective contingency plans to protect personal data when...

Update for Commercial Tenants

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A High Court decision provides a helpful reminder for commercial tenants of the need to fully comply with any conditions for exercising a right to break the lease. Otherwise, as in this case, the lease will continue to exist and the tenant may have lost...

Short term occupation

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Short term occupation which agreement to use? A landowner’s income from a short term agreement to occupy can often be low and without any guarantees as to how long that income will last.  They are likely therefore to want to put the...