Lease Reviews & Renewals
No matter whether you are a tenant or landlord, your tenancy agreement is gospel. Lease reviews and renewals through a lawyer will ensure your tenancy is sound and not overly onerous on either side.
What are Lease Reviews and Renewals?
Lease reviews and renewals can come about at any point during a tenancy and not just at the start and finish of the lease.
Lease reviews are most commonly required when looking over a tenancy (typically known as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, or AST) and advising on it. Reviewing a lease is especially important when you are a first time landlord and you intend to re-use the same tenancy at a later date. Equally, if you are a tenant taking out a tenancy on a property and paying thousands per month, it’s in your best interests to ensure that the tenancy is fair.
If you’re considering cutting your lease short, it’s valuable to understand what your obligations are if you don’t already know.
Getting advice on a lease renewal is especially important if the lease is either worth a significant sum of money, or if it is set to last for longer than 2 years.
When are Lease Reviews Helpful?
Breaches of a Tenancy or Lease
As either landlord or a tenant, if you suspect the other party has breached the terms of your lease or tenancy, you need to be aware of your options.
Some tenancies can, deliberately or otherwise, have clauses that are open to interpretation, or completely omit other items.
A common bone of contention amongst landlords and tenants is when a tenant sub-lets to another tenant. While some leases account for this, others won’t, and it’s at this stage that it’s probably best to have a lawyer involved to advise you on your options.
Taking on a New Lease
It’s important that you take advice on a new lease regardless of whether it’s for a new home or a commercial property.
If you are paying upwards of £2,000 per month, or locking yourself into a contract that lasts in excess of 2 years, you need to be aware of what you are required to do under the lease.
Some longer leases will require tenants to pay towards repairs, while others may not allow you to cut the tenancy short or enforce overly long notice periods.
Surrendering a Lease
When a tenant wishes to surrender their lease, they are intending to break their lease and move out of their rented property. In legal terms “surrendering” is when you legally transfer ownership of something, in this case, the lease of a property. This will let the renter relinquish their claim on the property back to the landlord.
If a tenant is surrendering their property, they cannot simply move out and return the keys. It must be agreed with the landlord that the tenant’s decision to surrender has gone through in line with the terms of their lease.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Lease reviews and renewals don’t have to be done by a lawyer. Some people are confident that they have a good enough grasp of the law and their rights to do them themselves.
However, if taking on a longer lease, it can be worth having a lawyer looking over a lease for both landlords and tenants to ensure you’re neither tied into the lease, or left with terms that are unfair or undesirable.
It’s important both sides understand that a lease should be compliant with the Consumer Rights Act 1995. This means that it has to be clear and fair for the tenant, even if they haven’t raised any objections previously.
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