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Renewing or ending a business tenancy

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 is a major piece of legislation in the field of commercial property. It was enacted to provide much needed stability for business tenants and means that they have the right to renew a lease as it comes to an end automatically under certain conditions. In the years that followed the Second World War there was an acute shortage of business premises so landlords were able to dominate negotiations with their tenants as leases approached their expiry. Parliament stepped in in 1954 to redress the balance so that commercial tenants were given the automatic right to continue to occupy.

We can help you

A firm of solicitors in Leeds, like Winston Solicitors, with a dedicated commercial property department can help navigate this situation you whether you are a landlord or a tenant.

Establishing right to renew

A commercial property solicitor will be able to tell you if you or your tenant has the right to renew. Generally, business tenants qualify but there are a few notable exceptions, such as when the original lease was for 6 months or less and the tenant’s occupation has not extended past 12 months. For a full list of exclusions, it’s best to get in touch with a legal professional.

Refusal to renew

If you are a landlord and you do not wish to renew the lease, you may have grounds for refusal based on certain criteria. These include:

  • breach of tenant’s obligations;
  • you find the tenant alternative accommodation;
  • you wish to consolidate a property that is divided into separate sections;
  • if you want to demolish or rebuild the property, unless an arrangement is made with the tenant allowing you to carry out the work while they are in residence;
  • if you decide you wish to live or work in the premises yourself.

If you think you may wish to end a tenancy at the end of the lease term, it is very important that you take legal advice as soon as possible to ensure that you qualify for the grounds on which you will be relying. Contact Winston Solicitors LLP by completing our contact form or calling 0113 320 5000. We are commercial lease solicitors in Leeds and can advise you on your options and take any action that might be required. Specific actions need to be taken depending on your circumstances and, if they are not in place for the end of the lease term, the lease will continue until appropriate action is taken.

Is there a way of excluding a commercial tenant’s rights to a renewal lease?

You can build a clause into the original lease that excludes the automatic renewal rights provided by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 if you consult a solicitor before you begin. It is not a particularly difficult process but it has to be done exactly right and does need a commercial property solicitor to do it correctly. This is known as “contracting out”

Ending the tenancy

The tenancy may be ended under one of the circumstances noted above or by mutual agreement between the landlord and tenant.

For further information call Winston Solicitors on 0113 320 5000 or email

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