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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
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Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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In Oct 2008 I moved into an office and effectively "sub-let"

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In Oct 2008 I moved into an office and effectively "sub-let" half of the property and paid rent and a service charge for the common parts. My "landlord" was the Managing Agent for the property (a block of 24 mainly empty units) and I run an architectural practice and all was fine until this year when he announced that he was moving out and I would need to sign a lease with the "main landlord"
He (the managing agent) knew when I moved in that I did not want any long term commitment as I had previously been located in a Local Authority business unit on easy in easy out terms (I had been there 11 years) and the arrangement as I paid him worked fine.

The lease that has been offered is a 10 year term with a 3 year break clause, (the main landlord does not appear to know of my existance) and I have suggested a 1 year term they have rejected this and proposed a 3 year rolling break during the 10 year term.
Clearly I do not want to commit to this (although I have been trading since 1988) what is my position regarding my occupation of the office as in one conversation they have suggested they will send baliffs and change the locks if I do not agree!
Do I have any rights, I have no problem in paying rent etc but not over the terms suggested.
Thanks Mark
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.
Hi Mark
Was there any agreement as to the length of notice of eviction you should receive?

Tom
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Tom

 

No I would have assumed it would have been similar to my "easy in easy out terms" at the previous business centre (1 month) which he was fully aware of.

I paid the rent on presentation of his companies invoice which was Qtr in advance if this has any relevance.

 

Mark

Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.
Hi Mark

Thanks for your reply. I’m having an absolute nightmare with connectivity today. Sorry for the delay and your patience is massively appreciated.
It’s not great news I’m afraid that if you do not have an express written lease then your rights to remain in occupation are very, very limited. The Landlord would have to serve you any notice that you have agreed (which I don’t think you actually have if you haven’t had an actual conversation about it) or let you remain in occupation for the length of time that the rent you have already paid affords you but after that he can evict you.
He does not need to apply for a court order for possession I’m afraid. He can simply affect peaceable re-entry himself or by using bailiffs. So you can see that you are not in a great position.

The landlord is also not under an obligation to offer you a lease or to negotiate any terms of the lease he is prepared to offer, other than perhaps his prudent regard for having a responsible tenant already in place. You can seek to negotiate with him but in terms of occupation you have very little leverage I’m afraid.
The upside to having an informal agreement is the very low level of liability you are exposed to. The downside is precisely this – you have no security of tenure and effectively your continued occupation is at the whim of the landlord.
Most successful business that have been trading for your length of time take the plunge with a formal lease. Perhaps you should now consider this.
I’m sorry I could not have better news for you.

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Kind regards,


Tom
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6434
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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