Our lease advisory team are here to help landlords, investors, owners and occupiers with all aspects of leases for commercial properties across the South West. Leases can be complex so our priority is to give you the best advice we can, based on our expert knowledge of the law of leases as well as understanding the sector and market conditions.

Rental values, rent reviews and rent concessions are topics that we are frequently approached about. Our South West team of lease consultants are here to help you get the best terms on your lease so get in touch to see how we can help you save money and stress.

Whether you are looking for advice on an existing lease, thinking of renewing, ending or restructuring a lease or simply want to consult our team, you can count on us.

Agent giving key to new owner after signed lease agreement

Lease Advisory for Owners & Landlords

industrial warehouse

Lease Advisory for Occupiers & Tenants

About Lease Consultancy

Whatever is agreed in your lease at the outset will remain enforceable throughout your lease period so it’s important to fully understand the responsibilities stipulated within your lease. There may be financial implications for you not just during the lease, but also if you end, renew or restructure the lease. When you work with Vickery Holman, you can rely on our team to negotiate the best rent and lease terms for you based on our technical expertise and local knowledge of market conditions. We have worked with hundreds of commercial property clients in all sectors, public and private, so we have the expertise, resources and reputation that you can trust.

Leases can be complex so our priority is to give you the best advice we can, based on our knowledge of the sector and market conditions. Sometimes, matters need to be resolved and our unrivalled reputation for property advice is reflected in the service we provide on third-party disputes on rent reviews and lease renewals. Vickery Holman has some of the most highly regarded experts in commercial property matters within our team. Our Head of Dispute Resolution, Nick Holman, is an RICS Panel arbitrator and independent expert who regularly receives appointments to resolve issues such as rent reviews from the president of the RICS and directly from parties in dispute.

We are the largest multi-disciplinary surveying firm in the South West with offices in Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Truro. Our lease advisory team is based across the region so please talk to us about your commercial property matters.

Our lease consultants specialise in:

  • Asset management
  • Rent reviews
  • Lease renewals
  • Full repairing & insurance leases
  • Internal repairing insuring leases
  • Lease restructuring
  • Break options

If you would like to discuss any of these services further, please do not hesitate to contact us using the details below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a commercial lease?

A commercial lease is a contract between two parties to grant the right to use land or buildings. The terms of the contract can vary greatly, and both sides are legally bound by them. Do not get caught out by unintended or unfair conditions but seek specialist advice instead. If the terms cause problems or need action a lease advisory specialist can help.

What is a rent review?

A rent review is a right included in most commercial leases for the rent to be adjusted at periodical intervals. They are almost always for the benefit of the landlord not the tenant as in most cases the rent can only go up not down. The landlord must prove market rents have risen to secure an increase and the legal wording of the lease contract can cause complications. The process can cause conflict if not dealt with correctly and it is important to seek specialist advice.

What is a lease renewal?

When most leases come to an end, the tenant is protected by law and has the right to a new lease. The process triggers a negotiation of what the new lease terms and rent should be to reflect market conditions at that time. There are exceptions where the parties have agreed to exclude protection and some limited circumstances when a landlord can overthrow the protection, for instance if the property is to be redeveloped. The process is complicated, legally binding and contains pitfalls. Both parties need specialist advice to ensure they protect their rights and the process is followed correctly according to the law.

How do I get a lease restructure?

There is no right for either party to change the terms of a lease or restructure except at the end of the lease. To reach an agreement to do that early needs a negotiating lever or joint advantage to both parties. For example, landlords may agree to reduce the rent if the tenant commits to stay for longer in return or a tenant may threaten to activate a break clause unless the landlord will cooperate. Success will depend on seeking specialist advice to identify and apply these options.

What is a landlord responsible for in a commercial lease?

In most commercial leases the terms seek to limit the landlord’s day to day responsibilities as much as possible. The onus is placed on the tenant to repair and look after the property and comply with any restrictions that have been agreed. There are exceptions such as multi occupational buildings where the only practical option is for the landlord to take responsibility and recover the cost by a service charge. It all depends on the exact terms of the contract that specialist advice can clarify.

How do I make sure a break clause works properly?

Break clauses have become more common in recent years mainly to give tenant’s flexibility in uncertain and rapidly changing economic times. There are dangers as time limits and conditions must be strictly complied with. They can also be a useful method to trigger a restructure of the lease. There may be a financial penalty to pay. It is important to use specialist advice to know when and how your break option can benefit you.

Any questions? Call us

Our experienced team is ready to assist with unparalleled regional advice

TRURO

Tel: 01872 245600

PLYMOUTH

Tel: 01752 261811

EXETER

Tel: 01392 203010

BRISTOL

Tel: 0117 428 6555

The Team for Lease Advisory

Case studies for Lease Advisory

Rent Review – Formal Business Park, Camborne, Cornwall Vickery Holman has recently undertaken the Rent Review of a 13,500 sq ft industrial unit and have […]

Lease Renewal – Ground Floor, Argosy House, Plymouth Vickery Holman has recently undertaken the lease renewal of the Job Centre at Argosy House. The new […]

Vickery Holman has recently undertaken both an outstanding 2015 and a December 2018 rent review on a Veterinary Practice in Brixham, Devon on behalf of […]

Vickery Holman have successfully negotiated a nil increase for a nursery occupier where the Landlord was looking to increase the rent circa 15%. Acting for […]

Rent Review – Bradleys, Fore Street, Looe Vickery Holman has recently undertaken the rent review of retail premises occupied by Bradleys in Looe. This was […]

Lease Renewal – First-Floor Office Space, Threemilestone, Cornwall Vickery Holman has recently undertaken a new lease and a first-floor office space at Green Court in […]

Lease Extension – Howden’s, Dartmouth Vickery Holman has recently undertaken a new 10-year lease extension of the above property, ensuring that the Landlord now benefits […]

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Glossary

of Commercial Property Terms

Alienation – Normally refers to the transfer of a leasehold interest in property to another party – e.g. the grant or assignment of a lease, or the granting of an underlease (or sublease). Most leases will require the Landlord’s consent to such a transfer and their costs in considering the terms of the assignment or underletting to be covered by the Tenant.

Arbitration – A method of settling disputes by reference to an independent and impartial third party, usually an arbitrator is appointed by the RICS. Arbitration is essentially an adjudication of the arguments of the parties, and as such differs from Independent Expert Determination.

Assignee – A party to whom a lease has been assigned or transferred by the existing Tenant (the assignor).

Assignment – Transfer of a lease from one party to another. Once a lease has been assigned, the assignee becomes responsible to the Landlord for paying the rent and fulfilling the other obligations of the lease.

Assignor – The existing Tenant who is transferring their lease to another party (the assignee).

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) – An AST is the usual form of residential letting if: you are a private Tenant with a private Landlord, the tenancy began on or after 15 January 1989 or the house or flat is let as separate accommodation and is your main home.       A tenancy will not be an AST if: the tenancy began before 15 January 1989, it is a business or holiday let, no rent or a very high rent is charged or if the landlord is a ‘resident landlord’ (e.g. they let out a room within their home).

Authorised Guarantee Agreement (AGA) – Often put in place when a Tenant assigns their lease, this requires the Assignor to sign an agreement meaning if the Assignee fails to meet their obligations under the lease (including payment of rent) then the Landlord will be able to pursue the Assignor.

Break Clause – A clause in the lease giving either or both the Landlord and Tenant the right to terminate the lease in specified circumstances, normally at a given date within the lease, such as the third anniversary of the start of the lease. It is important to diarise the dates for the break clause as notice will have to be given to the other party stating that they wish to operate the break at the correct time. Most break clauses are time sensitive in that if the date is missed, the right to exercise the break will be lost. Break clauses are often also subject to certain conditions such as all payments being up to date and the Tenant providing vacant possession.

Consumer Price Index (RPI) – Rent reviews within leases can be linked to CPI which is a measurement of consumer inflation produced by the UK’s Office for National Statistics having regard to the price level of a basket of household goods and services.

Contracting Out – An agreement between the Landlord and Tenant that the Tenant will have no right to renew the lease at the end of the contractual term and will not have any right to compensation for the same purpose. This might also be referred to as ‘outside the act’. Both parties agree that the security of tenure provisions of Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 shall not apply.

Covenant – The word generally has two meanings: First, in the strict legal sense it refers to a clause within the lease requiring the Tenant (or Landlord) to do something or to refrain from doing something (see Restrictive Covenant). Second, it is used to denote the worth of a Tenant and hence the risk of default, which will have a bearing on the value of the lease.

Dilapidations – In simple terms they represent the exit costs for the Tenant at the end of the lease term. The cost of putting the property back into its original pre-let condition.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – a commercial EPC provides an energy rating for the building which is based on the potential energy comsumption. Services such as lighting, heating and insulation are taken into account. The EPC is accompanied by a secondary Recommendation Report that provides recommendations on how the energy performance of the building could be improved.

Forfeiture – Forfeiture of a lease occurs when the Landlord exercises their right to regain possession of a property where there is a breach in a condition of the lease, or a breach of covenant.

Gross Development Value (GDV) – The estimated value that a new development or property would sell for on the open market.

Gross Yield – A measure of the return on an investment before the deduction of costs associated with the property purchase.

Heads of Terms (HOTs) – A document usually prepared by the Agent setting out the rental or sale agreement between the parties. The HOTs are sent to the solicitors to prepare the lease or sales contract.

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) – A property where at least 3 tenants live with shared toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.

Independent Expert Determination – A process in which a neutral, independent third-party acts as an expert to provide a confidential and binding determination of a dispute. Different to Arbitration as the Independent Expert is not confined to the evidence presented by the parties.

International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS) – International standards providing buildings of different use classes to be measured on a like for like basis around the world.

ITZA‘In Terms of Zone A’ a method of measuring and valuing shops of different sizes and layouts based on the amount of window frontage.

Market Rent – The estimated amount for which a property should let for on the date of valuation, between a willing lessor and a willing lessee on appropriate lease terms in an arm’s length transaction after proper marketing, wherein the parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion.

Market Value – The estimated amount for which an asset should sell for on the date of valuation, between a willing buyer and a willing seller, in an arm’s length transaction after proper marketing, wherein the parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) – New legislation from 1st April 2018 meaning that all properties with EPCs rated ‘F’ or ‘G’ need to be brought up to an ‘E’ rating or above before they are able to be let.

MRICS – A Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors otherwise known as a Chartered Surveyor.

Net Internal Area (NIA) – The usable area within a building measured to the face of the internal finish of party walls and taking each floor into account. Excluding toilets, lift rooms, stair wells, entrance halls and corridors.

Net Initial Yield (NIY) – A measure of the return on an investment, the net yield takes the actual costs associated with purchasing the property into account.

Option to Purchase – An agreement made between a landlord and tenant that gives the tenant the opportunity to purchase the property. The purchase price can either be agreed in the lease or determined by a valuation or valuations at the time of purchase.

Party Wall – A shared property boundary. It can form part of a building or a garden wall. You must advise your neighbour if you want to build on or at the boundary, if you want to work on the existing party wall or structure or if you want to dig below and near to the foundation level of their property. A party wall surveyor is appointed to work on a party wall and acts independently on behalf of the wall.

Per Square Foot (PSF) – Often a rental rate or price will be applied per sq ft (or per sq metre) of space. A method used for valuing properties.

Rent Passing – The current rent that is being paid.

Retail Price Index (RPI) – Rent reviews within leases can be linked to RPI which is a measurement of consumer inflation produced by the UK’s Office for National Statistics.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – The world’s leading professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction.

Security of Tenure – The statutory right of a tenant to renew the lease at the end of the term. Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 gives business tenants security of tenure. However, this can be opted out of, see ‘Contracting Out’.

Service Charge – The costs incurred by the Landlord for upkeep and maintenance to shared parts of the building or estate, which can be charged back to Tenants.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) – A tax that is paid when purchasing property or land over a certain price in England and Northern Ireland. The current threshold for SDLT is £150,000 for non-residential land and properties. A tax is also paid when leasing a property for 7 or more years.

Subletting – Where the Tenant lets part or all of the premises to a Sub-Tenant, as permitted by the terms of the lease. It differs from assignment in that the head lessee remains responsible to the Landlord for the payment of rent and fulfilment of other obligations.

Vacant Possession (VP) – In terms of a break clause or the end of a lease, Vacant Possession requires the Tenant to ensure the property is empty on the day of completion or the break date.

Valuation Office Agency (VOA) – Business premises are assessed by the VOA for non-domestic rating purposes and each property is given a Rateable Value. Your local council uses the Rateable Value to calculate how much is paid in business rates, called the Rates Payable.