I am having quite a lot of difficulty with our landlord currently who is failing to make the necessary repairs to the electrics which are far under spec for our commercial property. Domestic installation, single phase, burnt cables etc.
They started works in the building to install a completely new system (3 phase, armoured cabling etc) as the other is completely beyond repair. The started the installation over two months ago and through not paying the electricians there has been huge delays which have been extremely disruptive to our business.
We sublet lots of Studios to businesses who are also extremely annoyed with us as there business has been disrupted. We are currently in a lease negotiation which makes the situation harder and I expect that this is a tactic to get us to sign a higher lease much more quickly.
In the meantime we have been operating on the same old and dangerous electrics which have been tripping constantly, the building is certainly not fit for purpose.
It is a commercial lease and quite an expensive one, whilst the electrics are in this state can I refuse to pay rent under the terms of it not being fit for purpose? How can I do this legally without forfeiting my lease?
Thanks for getting back to me. The Lease says without deduction or set of, however it also has another clause about dilapidation. I will find.
There have also been times of set of before when we have paid for upfront costs and then agreed verbally to set of.
If the whole or part of the premises becomes inaccessible or unfit for use thenthe whole or an appropriate portion of the rent payable under this lease shall cease to be payable until the premises are accessible and fit for use.
Thanks for this, it is very helpful.I will act upon your advice, the landlord is already getting part of the work done, he's just not completing it.As it has taken years of us coping and managing the situation ad thus incurring much losses for paying staff to manage this, is the way you described the only way to calculate the loss. Can I not for example suggest that our staffing costs and business disruption and loss of trade are something we would like to claim from them or on their insurance as it was there failure to maintain their fixtures and fittings?Also, in what instance would the clause I mentioned on damage to property (fit for use) and cessation of rent payable under the lease become active.
You can but any claim needs to be below £10,000 otherwise it ceases to be a small claim
Does that help?
Yes that does thank you, ***** ***** I would estimate for staffing would be £40,000 per year for the past 4 years, the business interruption would come to a similar figure and I don't really know how I would calculate the loss of goodwill and revenue from lost trade however this would be considerable also.For the time being the rent is already cripplingly high and with the failure of the electrics, I and numerous staff members are doing damage control rather then getting on with our job which is of course seeing a damaging loss in trade daily not to mention exhausting.We are in quite a tricky position currently as this loss is becoming seriously restrictive on being able to pay rent in the first place. In such a case can the 'fit for use' clause (in the lease) be used?
As long as you keep it below £10,000 it would be a small claim. Over this amount you would need a Solicitor to draft proceedings for you
and the fit for use clause?'If the whole or part of the premises becomes inaccessible or unfit for use then the whole or an appropriate portion of the rent payable under this lease shall cease to be payable until the premises are accessible and fit for use'
Potentially but that is where you sue for breach of contract. But you must NOT with hold rent whatsoever.
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I see, yes this was very helpful Alex thank you.In that case I should lump this in with the forceful re-entry, and lack of quiet enjoyment of the property also.