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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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I have been using a commercial storage area which is out of

Customer Question

I have been using a commercial storage area which is out of my demise, as a rear access to my commercial leasehold business for the past 24 years. There is nothing in place for me to use this unit or any agreement between us and the landlord, nor do i pay for it. Now our lease has come to an end and 24 years have passed, can i lay claim to this unit?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Matt Jones : HI I will try and help
Matt Jones : who owns this area of land, is it your landlord?
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

yes they do

Matt Jones : also have you been using this for access only, and not storage ?
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

both

Matt Jones : when you say you wish to lay claim to this until, what exactly do you mean ?
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

I mean as a certain time has lapsed, do I have any rights to that unit.

Matt Jones : Ok thanks
Matt Jones : did you use this land in conjunction with anyone else, including your landlord? i.e did anyone else store equipment there?
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

No, it was only us who used it

Matt Jones : but the landlord knew you were using it to get to your unit?
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

i believe so as it is the only rear access to the building

Matt Jones : hmm ok
Matt Jones : and what has happened to the unit? do you still occupy?
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

they mentioned once about ten years after the start to remove all items in the unit but they never came back to us after that to check up this was done

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

and nothing was ever said since

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

we are vacating the premises and are just completing the schedule of dilapidations which is going to be checked by the surveyor on thursday and then hand the keys back i presume. at the moment we are in a tenancy at will rolling on

Matt Jones : have you any idea if the landlords freehold estate is registered at the land registry?
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

I would imagine so as they are a big company

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

the new landlords bought the unit in april

Matt Jones : i see
Matt Jones : then it probably is
Matt Jones : Thanks I think I have all the information I need
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

ok great

Matt Jones : I am afraid that it is gong to be very unlikely that you are going to be able to claim a right to the unit. You have the requisite time of ownership to potentially claim possessory title, however because you have a leasehold title to the adjoining land the law is fairly clear that any encroachment onto your landlord additional land is a "accretion" of the existence lease (i.e. and encroachment that basically enlarged the terms of the lease). So where you are surrendering your lease back to the landlord then the additional land would be seen to be surrenndered with it. You may have been able to claim possessory title of the additional land if the lease arrangement continued, but this would only be possible if the additional lease was registrable (i.e you were staying for an additional 7 years or more)
Matt Jones : I am sorry this may not have been what you wished to hear but I hope I have helped you understand the situation.
Matt Jones : do by all means ask any follow up questions or let me know if you have any more information that may help
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

how do you mean if an additional lease was agreed.

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

so we would have to wait another seven years and then it could be claimed?

Matt Jones : Sorry, when I say "additional lease" I mean if the existing lease term was was extended by and other 7 years or more (if a "new" lease was granted it would be no good as effectively you would be starting again). You would then register this lease at the land registry. In addition you may be able to claim that, as you have had use of the land to the rear for over 7 years, this should be added to the lease title. However this of course just means that you have a larger area of leasehold land registered than is granted under the lease. It doesn't grant you the freehold of the land to the rear.
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

I see, are you aware of how quickly the landlord needs to act with regards ***** ***** dilapidations as we finished the works to turn the unit back to a shell last thursday and they have been informed last thursday but the surveyor has only made an appointment to come this thursday rather than a sooner time. Are they doing this on purpose in order to try to claim that we owe rent up until the keys are handed over, bearing in mind this is a tenancy at will

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

the tenancy at will can be terminated at any time and as far as we are concerned has been and the works to yield up have been completed last thursday

Matt Jones : did the landlord serve a formal dilapidation schedule?
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

yes

Matt Jones : it is a difficult one. there isn't a specific time. There is a "pre-action protocol" defined under the civil procedure rules that specifies that where a dilapidation schedule is provided then the tenant has up to 56 days to reply, and the landlord has then 56 days to reply to the tenant comments. This is usually where there is some dispute, and perhaps is a bit after where you are at at the moment
Matt Jones : I think the question of the lease ending is a separate one.
Matt Jones : the lease can end notwithstanding that there are works to do, or works to the property that are in dispute (hence the pre-action protocol above
Matt Jones : so you just need to be clear about whether the lease can be ended or not
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

ok, yes I have read up the 56 days protocol and it did seem a bit bizarre.

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

I just thought that the tenancy at will can be ended at any time by either party

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

as it is stated

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

im just confused as i don't know when that time is and therefore how long am I paying rent in an empty unit for as obviously the business has ceased and I am not making any money in that unit

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

i presumed once the works of dilapidations have been carried out and the surveyor agrees then the keys are handed over and the payments stop?

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

in terms of rent

Matt Jones : do you have a separate document saying "tenancy at will"?
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

yes

Matt Jones : It is a bit a chicken and egg scenario. you can end the lease now under the terms of the TOW but you lose the right to enter the premises (and you are no longer a tenant) and affect the outcome of the works for the dilapidations. You are then left with the possibility of the landlord saying the works were not complete and getting contractors in (possibly at higher costs) to do the works which you then fight with him. or you continue with tenant on the basis that you have control of the premises until you see what the surveyors says.
Matt Jones : (i must say we have strayed off the original question here! :) I hope i get positive feedback! haha)
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

sorry matt, you are getting an excellent rating don't you worry

Matt Jones : Ultimately if the landlord/surveyors is asking you to jump through too many hoops
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

is there a certain way you end a tenancy at will

Matt Jones : and you feel the dilapidations are going overboard then the best bet is to end the tenancy and fight their claim for additional dilapidations using your owner surveyor
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

whats happened they have given us a price of 22k to do the works

Matt Jones : not usually but check the lease. usually you just have to give written notice
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

we have done it for 5k

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

and now awaiting inspection

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

written notice i take it is something like. " we are serving notice to end our tenancy at will at alexander's, dated 30/09/2014'' via email

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

to the landlord

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

we just cant afford to keep paying anymore as the business has really suffered and we are broke as a result

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

hence moving out

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

there is no specific serving of notice on the tenancy at will except that it can be done immediately

Matt Jones : It is always the case that the landlord over estimates and the tenant does the work cheaper. It is difficult to assess the likelihood of success or otherwise in a dillaps argument in a forum such as this as you have to assess the original lease, schedule of original condition etc. It is s big job. it sounds like you are going to have to take the initiative and end the lease and argue over any difference in the dillaps at a later date. As to the notice, yes something like that but check the lease and put it in written format as well as email to avoid arguments about failure to correctly serve.
JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

the lease just refers to the 1926 act

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

as this is a new company is there any specific way to find the correct address to send the notice to, as i know if you send to an address of the company that isn't stated for notices then they can say it is incorrectly served.

JACUSTOMER-3vl79e1f- :

I presume all I can do is to ask the managing agent as the landlord is a large company and does not communicate directly through us

Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience: I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
Matt Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
thanks for the positive rating
make sure you check companies house for the correct registered office address.
http://www.companies-house.gov.uk/
there is a free search on there
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thanks matt the clarity makes things a little less stressful. regards

christian

Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
no problem. Hope it all works out
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello

I hope that my advice assisted you, and all has gone well. If you have time then I would welcome an update.

If you have any other legal questions then please post "FOR MATTHEW J" before you ask your further question and I will endevour to come back to you. I may not be online at that particular moment but will come back to you as quickly as I can.

All the best

Regards

Matthew J

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