Q: The lease on my business premises is nearing expiry. I have asked the landlord about extending it but he is being evasive and I am concerned he might just evict me on the expiry date. Can he do that?
A: Do you have security of tenure under s26-30 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (‘LTA54') in your lease? This is the Statutory protection given to a tenant to minimise the Landlord's options to evict them when the lease term ends.
If your business lease has not been contracted out of the LTA54, the Landlord must serve at least 6 months' notice on you (in a form prescribed by the Act) and give grounds for opposing a lease renewal, e.g. redevelopment, own use, tenant failing to observe covenants etc. LTA54 limits the grounds on which a Landlord may refuse to renew a business lease.
Generally, without security of tenure, the Landlord must still serve notice to quit. However, depending on the terms of your lease, the notice period may be less than six months and without requirement to indicate whether or not the Landlord is prepared to grant/negotiate a new lease. You would need to be prepared to vacate the premises at the end of your fixed contractual term.
If you want to stay in occupation, you should try to agree terms with your Landlord immediately, either by signing a new lease or an agreement to lease.
If you have security of tenure and the Landlord is unwilling to agree terms for a new lease, you may apply to the court for a new Lease by serving upon the Landlord a Section 26 Request for a New Tenancy. If the Landlord still refuses to grant a new lease the court will fix the terms of the new lease..
Due to strict time limits for serving a request for a new lease it is vital that you seek legal advice about the process BEFORE your present lease expires.