Commercial Property covers a wide area of legal work relating to business based property matters. If you’re in business then at some stage property will be important to you.
Whether taking a lease, buying a property, leasing one out or selling one on, we are able to guide you through the complexities so that your transaction doesn’t become a nightmare. We are more than happy to be involved before any deal is struck to help you ensure that the deal agreed is the right one for you.
Our particular areas of expertise include:
Land and New Homes
We work with developers of all sizes ensuring that they are able to acquire the site they want on the right terms, whether that includes joint ventures, options, overage/clawback, exclusivity agreements or straight to contract, we can ensure a smooth transit from identifying a site to putting the first spade in the ground, but it doesn’t end there, our plot sales team are fully equipped to get the site ready to sell on and work with you to ensure that targets are hit and sales delivered in time to hit your requirements.
If you’re a land owner looking to develop land we can help you decide which structure is the right one for you, whether you’re selling to a builder, promoting your site with a third party specialist, entering into a joint venture with the developer or decide to develop it out yourself, we have the skills and experience to make it happen.
Landlord and Tenant
We love to talk to you early on in these transactions as, once the heads of terms are signed, our hands can be tied, so we are happy to review heads of terms with you, then work with you negotiating the lease. Whether you’re the Landlord or the Tenant we have decades of experience to hand to ensure that you get the right terms for you which reflect the deal you wanted.
We work with Landlords of estates and buildings helping them manage their portfolio, where necessary helping ensure that Landlords hit the deadlines that are important to them including rent reviews and renewal dates and working with them and their agents to ensure a streamlined process.
With tenants we are able to use our extensive contacts in the market to ensure that they get the right deal for them whether at the start or later down the line at renewal or assignment. We will ensure that they understand exactly where they stand and agree with them how they can get the most from their property without burdening themselves in the future. We have worked with national retail chains with thousands of outlets, but we are also happy to work with individuals whether taking a new lease, letting for the first time or just taking a first step into the property market.
With our litigation team we are also able to help throughout the whole relationship process protecting our clients from some of the dangers which Property owners and occupiers are susceptible to.
Having acted for most national banks over the years, as well as private lenders, we are able to work with funders, large and small, as well as their clients, to ensure that funds are released in the right manner at the right time and are properly secured.
We look for practical solutions to problems to ensure that everyone gets what they need from the arrangements without leaving anyone exposed. We can work to tight deadlines and are used to delivering to strict requirements.
Having worked on some of the largest insolvency cases the North East has seen, we can work with your Insolvency Professional to ensure that the recovery of a business can be achieved with least issue.
We are also experienced in acting on the purchase of assets out of the insolvency process including working with Administrators to ensure that businesses are saved, and jobs protected and obtaining assets in portfolios from liquidators.
We also work with Landlords dealing with the insolvency issues of their tenants. This minefield is even more concerning with recent case law and we will work to ensure that the Landlord gets as much protection as we are able to get them.
Our breadth of experience
Our experience isn’t just limited to factory units, shops or offices, we have experience dealing with doctors’ surgeries, dental practices, vets, petrol stations, telecommunications sites, play centres, wind farms, solar farms student blocks, holiday parks and much more.
Our team have represented many play centre owners in this very specialised sector, we understand the unique requirements of the sector and are perfectly placed to advise people starting out in it.
We also have experience of acting for national food and beverage retailers and iconic brands, dealing with their portfolios and helping them deliver as well as acting for their tenants and borrowers to ensure that transfers of businesses can happen smoothly without too much fuss.
We have worked on the acquisition and development of holiday parks including chalets, caravans and lodges as well as sea front apartments. We have worked on the development of hotels and their sales purchases and refinances and all the ancillary issues that flow from them.
Members of our team worked on the development of primary care facilities and have many years of experience of working in that arena including working on healthcare based PFI projects. We have represented dental practices selling to larger groups and for their day to day requirements including leases and acquisitions and we have worked on the purchase and ongoing work with care home providers including having worked for some of the big names in the industry.
Our healthcare expertise isn’t just limited to the healthcare of people, we have also worked on the development of veterinary hospitals and practices employing our skills from other sectors into this niche area.
We have nationally recognised experience in telecommunications sites and provide education sessions to surveyors in relation to this. Given the recent changes in this sector, we are one of the few firms based in the North of England able to give you realistic and practical advice to help you weather the current crisis in this market.
We have worked with schools on academy conversions and their ongoing work, not leaving them as soon as the deal is through, advising them on third party contracts on their site, further land assembly and dealing with problems inherent in taking on sites from local authorities.
We have acted on the sale and purchase of individual and groups of petrol stations and understand the specialist requirements in this sector. We understand the practical implications of selling and buying these businesses and actively work with our clients towards a successful outcome whether this is something they have experience on or they are new to the industry.
We have acted on design and build arrangements relating to these renewable areas, working with the design and development teams as well as adjacent landowners to enable short term access, maintenance rights and successful ongoing relationships.
We represent a number of nursery care providers and understand the specific issues facing this sector. Whether leasehold or freehold properties we are able to help at all stages and ensure that your business is able to thrive without worrying about property issues in the background.
We are actively involved in purchases by Pension funds and we are experienced at working with both SSAS and SIPP providers in this arena. We also understand the requirements and timescales involved in pension transfers and are used to working with the providers to ensure that the timescales involved, and the over arching requirements do not stifle a deal. We can also work with our Private Client Team to ensure these arrangements work well with your families future planning.
Frequently asked questions
How much does my matter cost and how long will the process take?
Dealing with a wide range of commercial property matters, naturally, we receive a variety of different questions from clients, which are often only relevant to their specific circumstances. The simple answer is that both time and costs will be dictated by your specific requirements and the nature of the transaction.
I am selling my business and my buyer has already started to advertise it, even though we have not yet completed. What can I do?
The right to advertise a business is an aspect of the goodwill of the business, and goodwill is an asset which transfers upon completion of the sale. Your buyer cannot, therefore, advertise the business without your consent prior to completion. In view of this, you should consider first of all write to your buyer asserting your ongoing rights in the goodwill, and asking him to refrain from holding himself out as the proprietor of the business. If this fails to have any effect then you could potentially pursue a Court action against the buyer for passing himself off as the owner of your business and breaching your intellectual property rights. However, it would be preferable to try to negotiate a solution with your buyer if you still intend the sale of the business to proceed.
What will happen to the partnership if my business partner retires?
At law, if a partner retires from a partnership then this brings the partnership to an end. However, a standard Partnership Agreement will usually displace this presumption, to allow the partnership to continue notwithstanding the retirement of a single partner. This is because it is recognised that the remaining partners will usually want to carry on the business after someone leaves. The Partnership Agreement should also provide for what happens to the business after one partners retirement, for example in relation to decision-making procedures and the valuation of the remaining partners shares in profits and partnership assets. However, the partnership will not be able to endure if a partner retires from a partnership of two, irrespective of the contents of the Partnership Agreement, as there can be no partnership of one. Instead the remaining partner will become a sole trader.
My business partners have suggested setting up an LLP. What would be the effect of this?
A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is essentially a hybrid of a company and a partnership. Therefore, converting an existing partnership into an LLP would involve establishing a new legal entity, separate from the individual partners, which would then assume liability for the partnership’s obligations and debts. However, in order for such limited liability to be possible, the partners would need to register and file accounts with Companies House. On the other hand, the partners would remain individually liable to pay tax on their share of partnership profits, as is the case with an ordinary partnership. This contrasts with the position of a company, where the company pays corporation tax (although shareholders in the company might pay income tax on their dividends).
My tenant wants to set up a company to run his business from the premises I have let to him. Can he do this?
If your tenant were to set up a company to run his business then this could constitute an assignment of his lease to the company. Under most standard commercial leases the tenant can only assign with the landlord’s consent, and the landlord will be entitled to impose reasonable conditions on the assignment. If this is the case you should, therefore, insist on the tenant obtaining your formal consent to an assignment of his lease if he wants the company to run his business. If you don’t, and you knowingly allow the company’s occupation of the premises (for example by accepting rent from the company), then you could find yourself at risk if the tenant defaults on the rent in future. Under such circumstances, you may have to seek recovery of any arrears from the company, and the company may not have the assets to settle them.
My tenant's company has become insolvent. What are my options?
These depend largely on the content of the lease. A standard commercial lease will usually grant the landlord the right to forfeit the lease if any one of a number of specified insolvency events occurs (for example the appointment of a receiver). This would allow you to recover possession of the premises and install a new tenant. At the same time, you could seek to prove in the tenant’s insolvency for any arrears of rent. If however, forfeiture is unsuitable or not permitted by the lease, then you will need to consider negotiating a solution with the tenant’s receiver or administrator. This could involve the lease being voluntarily disclaimed (surrendered), or alternatively, you might have to buy out the tenants interest in the premises, depending on market conditions.
Meet the Commercial Property team
Legal Director & Solicitor - Commercial Property, Corporate, Restructuring & Insolvency
Trainee Solicitor - Commercial Property, Corporate, Restructuring and Insolvency