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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 23354
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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Need a lawyer who specializes in commercial leases (Cafe)

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hi need a lawyer who specializes in commercial leases (Cafe)
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Ok
Purchased a sandwich shop 4 years back, there was a lease but not in my name, started to negotiate new lease back then but some how got put on the back shelf.
So resurrected these negations 6 months back but have a sticking point and a legal point, so I wish an answer on the following. As my name is ***** ***** the lease or nor should it have been because I became the new owner of the business and was negotiating a new lease there seems to be these two points holding up proceedings.
When this shop was refurbished by the landlord’s brother, who is a contractor for the landlord, he fitted it out to be a café/sandwich bar (for others)and in the process as there was not an available drain,fitted a pump to remove the waste water from the sandwich bar kitchen sink. The landlord has now placed the whole freehold on the market and I brought to his attention, this pump, which is located in a room behind our kitchen and disposes water out somewhere at the back of the rear building. I brought this pump to the attention of the landlord and requested that he prepares to move it if what he feels may come to be, that coming to be is the possibility that the new owner may try to knock down the existing buildings etc which are located to the rear of our shop and run right up to our boundary with these same buildings’. So, if the rear was redeveloped, all that is there now at the rear of our shop, will be knocked down, not our shop, but the water pump would need relocating. However, the landlord claims he knows nothing about this pump and that it is my responsibility, but I have it on 100% good authority from the people that the shop was refurbished for, to a café, that the landlord’s brother, is as previously stated a contractor for him, the landlord. So, by the brother (Contractor) fitting this pump during the refurbishment, makes that pump part of the “Landlords” fixture and fittings, not mine, so therefore any relocation of this pump becomes the landlord’s responsibility. Correct?
Second, although the last lease was not in my name, I have still paid rent rent to the landlord for the past 4 years, so to my knowledge by doing so, I have created “Secure tenure” which entitles me to a lease of compensation should the landlord want me out. My question is, although I never held the previous lease, obviously because I did not own the business, does this “Secure Tenure” still apply to me as I have been paying the rent for over a year,” without” a lease in place.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: thats' about it thank you

Commercial leases? That would be me!

You are not entitled to put this pump anywhere except in the property which you “leased”. Therefore, if this pump is outside the property on the edge of another piece of land which may be sold, not only is your responsibility to move it, the landlord can compel you to remove it (until it has been in place without consent of objection not in secret for 20 years).

The existing lease of the shop may not be in your name but when you purchased the sandwich shop, you should have negotiated the assignment (purchase) of the lease at the same time.

The purchase of the business and the purchase of the lease are normally conditional upon each other so you don’t get one without the other and vice versa. This is what solicitors do when you buy a business.

Alternatively if you simply brought the limited company (if it was a limited company) then the lease and the business drag along with the shares that you purchased. You haven’t mentioned a limited company, so I assume that is not the case.

It doesn’t matter that the landlord’s brother fitted the pump if you do not have the consent of the landlord.. Anything that is fitted to the building becomes part of the building the landlord is still at liberty to ask you to remove it if it is a tenants addition.

I disagree that you have any security. There was supposed to be an assignment of lease and that was always intended and you have not done that. Therefore, I am of the opinion that you have a licence/tenancy at will which only the view could terminate on reasonable notice. The existing lease is presumably still in existence and what you want to do, in my opinion, is to negotiate an assignment of that immediately.

The argument you are going to have is whether the rent that you paid was on the old lease or under your informal licence. You don’t meet me to tell you now that this has been done very badly.

If the old lease has expired there was a statutory right to a new one provided it is not opted out of the 1954 Landlord & Tenant act. So there is quite a bit of legal work to be done here.

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