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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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, I run a not community pre-school in Lambeth

Resolved Question:

Hi, I run a not for profit community pre-school in Lambeth "The Nest Pre-School", we reside within Longfield Hall, who is currently looking for an Asset Transfer of the Hall from Lambeth who currently own the building. I am a trustee of Longfield Hall Trust, which was registered Nov 2013.
We have been in situated in the self contained part of the building since 1992, the old "caretakers flat", we have a licence from the original Friends of Longfield Hall, ie the volunteers who took on the building and used it for the community.
As the Pre-School has become established over the last 23 years, our times of occupancy have grown, hours increased, and the old licence has become out of date. So when the new trust - LFH Trust was established, the chair provided us with a Venue Hire Agreement April 2014,
and rent rise, based on our new hours, however, it provided us only with a termly arrangement for the Summer Term and on signing a Yearly contract.We operate on a 2yr basis, care of the 2yr length of stay, by the children and it therefore provided us with no security of tenure. We refused to sign the agreement but have continued to pay rent, as of old, £1995/quarter.
At a meeting today when I invited a local architect to come and discuss plans for the next part of the building, its currently being surveyed, and because we are in the consultation process, to find out what the local community need.
The Chair of Longfield Hall Trust said that we are SQUATTERS, as we havn't signed the disputed Venue Hire Agreement of last year.
Can we be legally defined as squatters? We are paying the rent, and both parties so far partly due to time constraints and beligerence probably on both sides have not made any amendments to the Venue hire agreement or progress in negoiciations. Save that Lambeth is supposidly in the process of trying to create a sublease for ourselves within the current lease for Longfield Hall, they are incredible slow, so we have not heard anything yet.
Politically speaking Lambeth needs community co-operation, and is keen to support Early Years.
Juliet
Last year I contacted yourselves and secondly Ashford.co.uk who thought we had a tenacy,
I need some sort pro bono legal advise from a solicitor & you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

For now just confirm no-one actually lives there it is being used commercially?

Customer:

Yes it is solely used commercially,it used to belong to The Minet Trust was given to Lambeth in the 60s and is a community Hall, currently owned by them who rented it out to now Longfield Hall TRus]]

Alex Watts :

Ok, well you can't be a squatter if its commercial. You may have a tenancy at will - that is you have no protection as there is no current agreement.

Alex Watts :

You are not a squatter

Alex Watts :

You are a tenant at will.

Alex Watts :

Sadly that means you can be asked to leave at any time with notice as you have no lease.

Customer:

Yes it is solely used commercially,it used to belong to The Minet Trust who handed it over to Lambeth as a Community Hall, it was run by The Friends of Longfield Hall, and last year Nov 2013 it now is called Longfield Hall Trust, still currently owned by Lambeth, who with the trust are looking at Asset Transfer.

Alex Watts :

Without a lease you can be asked to leave. To make sure you are secure you need to get a lease signed with the Landlord asap

Alex Watts :

Therefore without any lease you have no protection

Alex Watts :

So you must get a leased signed.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Lambeth are in the process of granting us a sublease under the Longfield Hall Lease, as far as I am led to believe.

Alex Watts :

Ok. Until that is signed you are a tenant at will with no lease and no protection

Alex Watts :

So you must get this done to get protection

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer:

Yes what is a tenant at will, we have been in the building 23 years, in the 2020 Lambeth consultation Document Lambeth describes the position of Longfield Hall as The Longfield Hall Trust will run a sucessful community and cultural center combining Early Years Service with theatere/ rehearsal Space.

Alex Watts :

Yes, but at present you have no rights. You are not a squatter, but have no protection.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

why is this when we are paying rent as we alway have, & what notice can they serve we've been here 23yrs. Invested in the building with grants from Lambeth for our sector Early Years of up to £20K.

Alex Watts :

They can give you a months notice.

Alex Watts :

Assuming you pay monthly.

Alex Watts :

I am sorry. But without a lease you have no protection

Alex Watts :

They can terminate very quickly indeed

Customer:

We pay quarterly, does not our old licence hold any water.

Alex Watts :

No.

Alex Watts :

Sadly not.

Alex Watts :

You would get 3 months notice to leave.

Alex Watts :

Its only a licence, not a lease.

Alex Watts :

So it can be terminated. I am sorry

Alex Watts :

This is why you need to get a lease.

Alex Watts :

To get protection

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and it is certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer:

Thank you Alex you must think I'm stupid to keep asking the same question, I have to be absolutely clear in my mind so I can get Lambeth & Lambeth Early Years on Board.

Alex Watts :

But I hope that is clear for you

Alex Watts :

Yes of course. I am sorry its not better news.

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question can I ask you to rate my service before you go today, the button should be at the bottom of the screen

Alex Watts :

If you need more help please click reply

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