A matter of contract

What if there was a law that basically said you could keep your premises for as long as you want, no matter what the lease said?  That would mean you’d never have any relocation expenses, and you wouldn’t have to lose any goodwill you’d built up there.

Being realistic, you can’t hope to get a law which prevents the landlord from ever getting possession back, but in an ideal world he’d have to prove he’d got a good reason to get you out, and he’d have to pay you compensation.

I suppose you’d also want this law to say that the landlord couldn’t just name his price on the rent.  There’d have to be some sort of independent rent control to keep him from doing that.  And the lease terms would have to stay the same as well, so the landlord couldn’t change the terms of the deal you originally did.

Well, that law exists.  It’s called the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, and it gives all those protections to business tenants in England and Wales.

What you have to watch out for, when you’re taking a lease, is the landlord saying that the lease is going to be ‘contracted-out’.  That means that the Act won’t apply to the lease, and you won’t have any of those rights.  That might not worry you – it just means that at lease end you have a completely free-market negotiation about taking a new lease.  But they’re important rights, so it’s something to think about carefully.

Author: Mark Shelton