Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Martin McKeague provides tips on exercising commercial lease breaks

Focusing on the core of a business can be a sensible strategy when it comes to improving efficiency. It is therefore often a strategy that is adopted in times of economic decline or uncertainty. A recent survey (‘The Elephant in the Room: provisions of leasehold liabilities by FTSE 350 companies’) on corporate real estate usage and surplus property in the years 2012-14 concluded that, despite the intentions of many businesses to drive down overheads and to concentrate resources on their core following the 2008 financial crisis, many corporates have not yet made significant changes to their property usage, so as to increase efficiency and reduce rental commitment. In the wake of the Brexit result on 23 June 2016, the economic outlook is uncertain. That means that businesses may increasingly look to their property portfolios to see whether divesting of any surplus could be a means of saving cash. In light of the current climate, and recent case law, I will provide some practical advice for businesses considering their lease break options.

Katie Scuoler examines the compulsory purchase changes set out in the Housing and Planning Act 2016

Pressure has been mounting for change in the world of compulsory purchase legislation for many years. The early part of the 21st century saw a flurry of reports and reviews calling for a simplification and codification of the compulsory purchase regime. Minor changes – informed by the work of the Compulsory Purchase Policy Review Advisory Group – were introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The drafting of those reforms, however, pre-dated the conclusions of the Law Commission’s final report, ‘Towards a Compulsory Purchase Code’. Shifting priorities in the wake of that report pushed compulsory purchase reform into the long grass

John Starr makes the case for a properly documented construction contract

The case for a properly documented contract of any kind is fairly compelling when it is well known that contractual uncertainty leads to disagreements, disputes and ultimately expense. All the more so, one might think, when that uncertainty might strike at the very heart of the dispute resolution process available to the parties.

Andrew Williams explores a landlord’s remedies for tenant disrepair during a tenancy

It is easy to empathise with the landlord of commercial premises who discovers that its tenant has allowed the building to fall into disrepair. But what remedies does it have when the lease is not due to expire any time soon?

Rosalind Cullis discusses a case which serves as a salutary reminder of the importance of compliance with break conditions

What amounts to vacant possession has, once again, been considered by the High Court in the case of Riverside Park Ltd v NHS Property Services Ltd [2016]. In this instance, the consequences were significant: the court held that the tenant’s failure to give vacant possession meant that it had not satisfied the condition of an option to break the lease, meaning that the tenant remained bound by the lease for the remaining five years of a ten-year term. The case serves as yet another reminder of the attention to detail that is necessary to ensure compliance with break conditions.

It is now clear that tenants of private landlords cannot rely on human rights to prevent eviction. Kary Withers reports

Private landlords across the UK will be breathing a sigh of relief following a Supreme Court ruling that makes it clear that tenants are not able to invoke a breach of their human rights to prevent lawful eviction.

A recent case makes clear that the consultation obligation lies with the superior landlord. Jessica Parry explains

In the recent case of Leaseholders of Foundling Court and O’Donnell Court v The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Camden [2016], the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (UT) held that a superior landlord was obliged to consult with its direct tenant and any subtenants, in order for the costs of major works to be recoverable via the service charge.

Peter Lewis highlights the dangers to landlords of early break clauses when negotiating a renewal

With regard to rent valuation, decided cases demonstrate that it can be difficult to determine what impact certain clauses in leases will have when a lease is renewed. HHJ Mitchell, who gave judgment on Britel Fund Trustees Ltd v B&Q plc [2016], elected to give due regard to the nature of comparables. The implications were that the market value was significantly discounted.