Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Guide to Residential or Commercial Leases on UK Properties

So, you’re leasing a property. Why pay for commercial property services when you’ve done it all before?

After all, a lease is a lease is a lease – isn’t it?

Well, sadly not. No two leases are the same, so you must protect your commercial interests and nail down the rights and responsibilities for both parties.

The landlord’s responsibilities are likely to include:

• Maintenance and repairs of the building
• Management of common areas such as grounds, staircases and hallways
• Insurance of the building

While the leaseholder’s obligations may include:

• Keeping the inside of the property in good order
• Behaving in a ‘neighbourly’ manner
• Payment for services, eg maintenance and repairs, building insurance etc
• Payment of ground rent
• Payments into a reserve fund for any scheduled major works, eg external decoration
• Restrictions on certain activities without the landlord’s consent

As a guiding principle, the landlord is not obliged to provide any service that is not specified in the lease, and the leaseholder is not obliged to pay for anything that is not specified in the lease.

How confident are you that your property lease really covers all these angles? If you leave room for doubt, you may well regret it further down the line!

And when you're taking up a lease...

Leasehold contracts are designed primarily to protect the commercial interests of the landlord.

Which means it’s up to you, the leaseholder, to challenge the terms that don’t suit you. And as the landlord has an army of commercial property consultants at his disposal, he’s probably not too worried about that.

If scouring acres of small print is your idea of fun, then go ahead. (Enjoy!) But if you prefer to live your life and leave the mind-numbing mumbo-jumbo to the professionals, you really should talk to your property consultants.

It’s vital that you understand your lease conditions before you buy. These are questions like:

• Will you have to pay ground rent?
• What service costs are you expected to pay?
• Will you have to pay into a reserve fund for future building works?
• Is the property subject to conditions of use (eg commercial or residential restrictions)?
• What obligations does the landlord accept?

With so much at stake, you can’t afford any grey areas. So ask your property consultant to look through your contract and pick out all the gremlins.

By Sam Hawking

Sam Hawking runs Sam Hawking & Co, a dynamic company specialising in conveyancing and UK property law for residential, commercial and agricultural clients. Licensed Conveyancer Sam established the company in Port Talbot in September 2006, and has quickly achieved a strong reputation as a conveyancing solicitor in South Wales. Join Sam's website at: http://www.propertysolicitorconveyancing.co.uk

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/real-estate-articles/guide-to-residential-or-commercial-leases-on-uk-properties-383578.html