Clifton Ingram

Property Litigation

The relationship between landlords and tenants is complex, subject as it is to wide ranging statutes, decades of decided cases, and many regulations. Few textbooks match the size of those on this subject.

Problems in the commercial field fall within a number of areas, such as the granting of a lease, the buying into an existing one as landlord or tenant, the ongoing liability of a tenant after he has sold his lease, the renewal of a lease, the responsibility of a tenant for dilapidations at the end of a lease, the exercising of break clauses correctly, and the relationship between co-tenants.

We advise both landlords and tenants on all matters arising under leases, including claims for outstanding rent or service charges, possession and enforcement of covenants, applications for new tenancies and dilapidations claims.

Not only do we regularly advise both commercial landlords and tenants over issues such as rent and service charge arrears but also on more complex questions that concern the interpretation of terms in a commercial lease. Disputes between commercial landlords and tenants can be very difficult to resolve especially where both parties genuinely believe that they are not at fault.

The commonest and potentially most expensive commercial property disputes concern the cost of repairing, redecorating and reinstatement at the end of a long lease where the legal liability will depend on the precise meaning of a word such a “repair” as it appears in a particular clause.

As we regularly deal with such disputes we are fluent in this specialised language and are able to advise on the general principles, the current case law, the relevance of questions of “betterment” and “supersession” and potential defences based on section 18 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927.

Not only do we advise both landlords and tenants on these issues but also surveyors who often find themselves being asked questions that are essentially of a legal nature.

More often than not our advice on liability will be accepted by both parties and then any remain argument will simply be over the cost of works.

From April 6th 2014 a landlord’s right of distress against his tenant to recover arrears of rent will be abolished and for commercial premises it will be replaced by a new statutory regime for Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR). For our summary of the changes and implications for commercial landlords click here.

For information on Residential Landlord & Tenant issues please click here

Main Contacts

Jonathan Davis
Managing Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution

Managing Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution Jonathan has over 40 years’ experience advising on a wide range of commercial,... read more »

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