Lease extension – Situation Hopeless?

Lease extension – Situation Hopeless?

8:58 AM, 22nd January 2019, About 3 years ago 4

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I am a landlady of the residential property as well as a tenant of commercial one and got into trouble with our landlord. My partner and I running a small dry cleaning business from a rented premises. Our lease came to the end in September last year and we made a mistake by not acting before this date.

We both are 60 y.o. and hard working people and it is needless to describe how hard is to run and at the same time physically work in such business. In addition I am a disabled person. In our entire life this is the first and we hope last time when our lease came to the end, so we did not have any previous experience.

However, when our landlord had served us a 25s note we did take an action – we served him section 26 as our respond and rested being assured that we took action. Little we knew that our note is not valid as he served first. In such situation we have lost our protection under the Act 1954 meaning that we are not able to take a legal action against our landlord. We visited few solicitors and were told that our situation is hopeless. Our landlord is happy to grant us a new lease – all 15 years we were a very good tenants, did not cause him any problems, the rent and other bills always were paid on time, but being extremely dishonest and using this situation he demands a rent which is far too high for our area.

I have 2 questions: is our situation completely hopeless /if we would be able to bring this matter to court I am more than positive it would be a very difficult for our landlord as we would disclose how he treated us all those years – in some cases we even have a proof of this?

Another question is – in the worst scenario if we do not come into agreement about the amount of rent what would be the eviction procedure, can he just change the locks and get us out without a court order (in residential letting the landlord is allowed to do so only on court order).
And lastly, getting in such situation we are extremely surprised that the law does not protect honest, hard working people and benefits only landlords.

We have a residential property which we are letting for many years, had different tenants, but never screwed them up, always understood their situations and maybe because of this attitude we were blessed by having mostly good tenants. With many of them we became friends and stay connected even after they moved out.

Thank you for your patience reading through my story and advice.

Helen



Comments

by Graham Bowcock

10:25 AM, 23rd January 2019, About 3 years ago

Dear Helen

I am sorry to hear about your predicament.

I think that if you are considering litigating to secure a new lease then you have to remove your emotions. Whilst everyone will appreciate that you are upset and feel you have been treated badly, the fact is that there is a long-standing and well known mechanism for dealing with commercial leases. You will have had to go through the protocols properly.

It is not clear why your landlord is dishonest; is this simply because he wants a higher rent? Have you checked out rents in your locality? It is too difficult to generalise on rents, although in many areas retail is suffering. However, if your rent has not been increased for many years it may be due an increase. I recommend that if you are minded to consider taking a new lease that you get some proper (i.e. paid for) advice from a local agent. They may also assist you in negotiations for a new lease.

If the worst come to the worst and agreement cannot be reached then you would need to be prepared to vacate and leave the property in accordance with the lease (which may involve a dilapidations claim against you). Make sure you read your lease carefully. The process is nothing like the residential process and does not require a court order.

If the landlord is a bad as you suggest then perhaps you don't really want to renew. You may just find yourself in the same position in a few years time.

This may not fully answer your queries, but I hope gives you a steer on moving forward.

by Helen

12:56 PM, 23rd January 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Graham Bowcock at 23/01/2019 - 10:25
Dear Graham, thank you so much for your thoughtful reply, it helped us to understand what we might face in the worst scenario. Yes, due to the lease the dilapidation is involved, we must leave the property in good condition. Sadly, but in our situation the landlord does not need the court order to evict us and we are already working in the direction to relocate our business nearby - there are empty shops around. And me saying that our landlord is bad person - this is not only words, but long stories to describe here. Just one thing - he made a court claims twice during 15 years for rent not being paid years ago even though we did not miss any of it. He did not discuss with us beforehand, just court claims were brought in by the postman from out of the blue. It took me each time hours for digging out the information from my shed /back than there were bank statements only/, furnishing court with the evidences that the rent was paid on time. On every occasion he withdrew his claim, but we were left with bitter feelings and shock. And not even a word of apology or regret from him. So we would be more than happy if we could relocate our business and got rid of such landlord, but this would be quite expensive as our equipment is big and heavy and require a specialist's fitting, phase 3 for electricity and so on. Unfortunately, very few shops on high street have this phase. He want rent increase more than 40% from what we are paying now. We made a thorough research and found out that even our current rent we are paying now is the highest for our area for the premises with A1 use and small size, let alone 40%up. And also there are many empty shops around as high street business is dying out. If we have no choice but to move out then not only we are losing, but our landlord does lose as well as there will be a danger for him to have an empty shop, or if he is lucky to get tenants there is no guaranty for him to get his rent paid on time.
Thanks again for your help and all the best

by blair

15:20 PM, 23rd January 2019, About 3 years ago

Hi. Yes its a shame you didn't respond in time the Act is clear and fairly straight forward.

The easiest way to see what rents should be is check out the rateable value of near by premises. this might be a dated either higher or lower depending on when it was done. Its free to check go to the governments valuation office. -VO and check

next thing is yo should show and even start agreeing a new lease at alternative suitable premises even to rents and rent free periods etc Your current landlord probably doesnt want the place empty and may still agree when he realises you are moving out.

You should think about how long you need a new lease for too if you retiring or are you planning to sell your business Also do a condition schedule this time It would be best to appoint a RICS commercial agent who has good tenant experience. I find to many lawyers still have landlords thinking even when acting for a tenant so gt your surveyor to sort out all the new terms

by sam

19:29 PM, 23rd January 2019, About 3 years ago

Hi Helen
I am so sorry to hear of your predicament. But please dont be too upset. Yours sounds like a one time pain at long term gain. Every cloud has a silver lining. Your problem today could well be your good fortune tomorrow. Chin up girl and be glad to be rid of a bad association. There is a new adventure waiting for you.


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