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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 16923
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I need someone to read a lease and advise me on it. I can

Customer Question

I need someone to read a lease and advise me on it. I can send everything via email
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Essex, UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have tried CAB - but they were unable to help and read the lease several times myself - but it uses wording i don't really understand
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not that I can think of I can send everything through to the lawyer once connected
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 days ago.

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need sometime to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online becauseyou will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimeslonger.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I havenot forgotten your question.

please upload the lease using the paperclip symbol in box above left -

and then tell me what you need clarifying - thanks

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Good Afternoon, please find attached all details, including what I require. I do require a fairly urgent response to this query. Many thanks
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 days ago.

The first lease is dated 17 December 1986.

It is in respect of the first-floor flat.

The Building is described as the whole of the building, first-floor flat and ground floor and land.

Anything with a capital letter such as Building is defined.

The tenant’s covenants are in section 2 of that lease.

Summarising those:



not make structural alterations

pay for breach of covenant notice

pass on any notices

advise of any sale or transfer

not sell or transfer without consent

*** at the end of the lease, give the flatback “in good and tenantable repair and condition”

*** keep the flat end walls and apparatus fixtures fittings and equipment belonging exclusively to the flat (except the roof, main wall and timbers) in good repair and condition.

Pay half of the cost of the landlord repairs

pay the cost of the insurance

allow the landlord to examine the condition

3 the landlord covenants amongst other things to maintain and repair in good condition the roof, foundation, main walls and timbers of the building and the services used jointly.

If you then go to the First schedule the property demised is defined and it includes “and staircase leading thereto and therefrom”

so according to this, the stairs are your responsibility. What is in the letter from Mr Gupta is correct.

If you do not sort the stairs, he conserve 146 notice on you and ultimately take action to foreclose (terminate) the lease.

The fact that they were in not in good condition when you moved in would be something for you to take up with your surveyor (if you had a surveyor) and for you to raise the issue with the landlord although the landlord would not change the lease. So if the stairs deteriorate, you are responsible but further, I’m sorry to say that if they are not in good condition when you move in, they have to be in good condition when you move out.

There is another lease dated 12 September 1986 which is for the ground floor shops and excludes liability for the staircase serving the first-floor flat.

I’m sorry, I know this is not the answer you wanted.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

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Best wishes.


Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Hi thanks for your reply so even though we do not have direct access to the underneath of the stairs this is still our responsibility?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 days ago.


But, under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act you are entitled to access to any land which you need to access in order to maintain/preserve your property. If it’s impossible to get underneath because of the way it’s constructed, that could be a problem and it may involve removing some stair treads to get in and behind to do the work and then replace them afterwards.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Access to underneath the stairs is via the shop, but access is difficult (they are open 12 hours per day) and they constantly use the walk thru to get stock. We were also never advised that anything underneath the stairs was related to the stairs. Would this be covered by Insurance, as we not only pay the landlord an insurance premium but I do have it covered myself?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 days ago.

They are practical issues rather than legal ones.

It’s not a case that UR responsible for what is underneath the stairs, you are not. You are responsible for the stairs and anything which supports them.

It’s unlikely this would be covered by insurance as its wear and tear.


I am glad to help. Please don’t forget to use the rating service, 5 stars, because it means that I can continue to provide affordable and timely legal advice to people with similar problems.

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Kind regards