Q: I have been renting commercial premises for three years and have spent a considerable amount of money upgrading them to attract more custom. Now my lease is coming to an end. I would like to renew it as the business is doing well, but I haven't heard from my landlord. I am worried that he might want me to vacate the premises. Am I entitled to stay?
A: Whether or not you can renew the lease depends upon whether you have security of tenure under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. When you took the lease your solicitor should have explained the terms of the lease to you. If it was the case that it could not be automatically renewed at the end of the term, it is likely that you would have been asked by your Landlord to make a declaration to that effect before signing the lease. If you did sign such a declaration then you would need to negotiate a new lease with your Landlord. There is however no obligation on the part of the Landlord to grant you a new lease or, if he or she does grant you a lease, to do so on the same or similar terms as those that have been enjoyed by you to date. If on the other hand you do have security of tenure then you should follow the procedure as set out in the Landlord and Tenant Act (LTA) 1954 and request a new tenancy on similar terms as before.
A lease is a legally binding document and there are many pitfalls to be wary of when renting a property, be that for commercial or residential use. It is therefore essential that you fully understand all the terms and conditions before signing such a document so taking advice from a Solicitor would be a prudent thing to do.