When thinking about taking a lease of premises, most tenants negotiate the terms of the lease with the landlord’s agent. And only once they agree the heads of terms do they instruct solicitors to deal with the lease negotiations.
The problem with this approach is that the ‘devil is in the detail’. There are certain key areas in lease negotiation that come up again and again. If you deal with these at the heads of terms stage, you can cut costs further down the line.
Common issues for dispute are repair, break clauses, the ability to assign or underlet, and service charges. The common thread to these issues is liability for costs and the ability to get out of the contract.
The well-advised tenant will ask the solicitor to review and comment on the heads of terms before these are in an agreed form. If your solicitor advises you well, you’ll be able to go back to the agent or landlord and agree more detail in the heads of terms.
Although not legally binding, the agent’s or landlord’s solicitors will tend to stick to what you’ve agreed at heads of terms stage. The more detailed they are, the quicker you can agree on the lease with less of an argument. And, more importantly, you’ll save money on legal fees.
So if you’re in talks with a landlord about taking a new lease, instruct your solicitor early for a faster, cheaper and less painful transaction.