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Commercial lease – Short lease versus long lease

When negotiating a lease one of the most difficult questions to resolve is what length of term should the lease be for?

In the past when it was a landlord’s market, the landlord would be looking for long leases to ensure that the premises were let for a long period of time. In today’s markets more and more business are taking up short terms leases.

Short lease

The benefit of a short lease is that it provides you with more flexibility, if you are just setting up a business you might want to avoid being tied to a long lease on the property which could prevent you from moving /expanding.

You also have to consider stamp duty, generally, the longer the lease and the higher the rent the more stamp duty payable.

Long lease

If you are investing a lot of money into the property when you take occupation you might want a long lease to ensure security over the property.


Both short and long leases can have agreed terms that work to your needs, for example if you are a tenant under a short lease provided the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 has not been excluded, (except in certain circumstances) the tenant will be able to request that a further lease is granted on the expiry of the current lease. The new lease terms will need to be agreed between the tenant and the landlord or if required an expert or the courts.

A tenant looking at a longer lease could consider having a break clause, the more flexible the better i.e. a rolling break clause after so many years that allows termination on notice. Likewise if the lease allows you to assign (pass the lease) to a new tenant then this may provide you with any flexibility you require during the lease term i.e. the ability to leave these premises and move to bigger premises.

If you need any assistance in negotiating the terms of a new lease or you have already agreed terms and require a solicitor to advise on the draft lease please contact Christie Limb (climb@fidler.co.uk)  she would be happy to provide you with a fixed fee quote for the work.

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A CPO allows certain bodies to acquire land or properties without the owner’s consent, for example a local school is to be built and land needs to be acquired for the site and the local land owners will not sell the land to the local council or the Highways Agency wishing to widen a road. The local authority who is seeking a CPO must prove that there is a strong public interest in the development they are seeking to progress.

The process for obtaining a CPO is quite lengthy and we would advise you to contact a solicitor immediately if you receive a notice or become aware of a proposed CPO which could affect your land/property. Of Course we would be happy to advice and assist on such a matter.

How do the council exercise a CPO that has been made? Unless and agreement is reached then there are two main ways either:-

1. the execution of a General Vesting Declaration

This is a formal procedure when the council wait two months after sending out the preliminary notice before it can make a general vesting declaration. The local authority will send all owners and occupiers a notice confirming the general vesting declaration and provide at least 28 days notice that the council will be taking possession.

The property that is subject to a general vesting declaration will mean that the owners are entitled to compensation which will be settled and paid after the general vesting declaration has been made.

The council cannot serve a general vesting declaration on a party that has a long lease which is due expire or a short tenancy of a year or less as the council do not want to be paying compensation to parties whose interest in the land will expire before the period of the general vesting declaration expires.

2. Notice to Treat

The council will serve a notice to treat and request to agree a price for the property. The notice to treat is served with a notice of entry and the entry must take place at least 14 days after the notice. After the notice period the land or property is transferred and the settlement paid.

The council will often use this approach for speed. Further a notice to treat can potentially be withdrawn when and general vesting declaration cannot.

There are time limits that have to be complied with when a CPO is being sought and made.

It can be a stressful time for land/property owners and therefore if you are served with any notices in respect of a CPO please feel free to make contact with our Christie Limb climb@fidler.co.uk.

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The government has recently approved the plans to build a high speed rail link between Birmingham and London.

At a later date this will be expanded to Leeds and Manchester.

There are obvious commercial benefits and we have seen commuter towns develop and flourish all around the rail links to London. I am sure the same will happen here.

The flipside is that some people will lose their much loved properties under Compulsory purchase orders or be affected by noise from the train itself.

There are statutory schemes in place to compensate for the loss of your property and a “home loss compensation payment” of 10% of the open market value upto £47,000 on top of the open market value of the property.
There are also schemes that compensate for the noise pollution.

However money won’t find you a new house of your dreams or create new school and social networks.

At least we have certainty now in terms of where the line will run and who will be affected by it and to some extent people can look forward again and plan their futures.

Any questions about any of the above issues then please email me at msslade@fidler.co.uk

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Solar Panels    No Comments

A word of warning for customers who have had solar panels installed in recent months.  A few clients’ have approached me and queried whether the home insurance is invalid as a result of having the panels installed. This is a very good question.

Firstly, you will have to make your insurers aware of the installation. Failure to disclose this may invalidate your policy.

The second question to ask is whether the value of the panels takes you over the maximum amount your insurer will pay out if you make a claim. Essentially, you need to ascertain what the maximum cover is, whether this excludes anything specific and find out what the cost of the panels actually are.

In addition, your insurers will want to confirm that the installation has been carried out correctly and in accordance with Building Regulation. You should be able to confirm this with the company that installed the panels. Failure to be able to confirm this and provide evidence will almost certainly prevent your home being adequately covered.

Also ask whether the insurers will cover the actual cost for reinstalling the solar panels and not just the cost of the panels themselves.

The position is further complicated if you have solar panels installed under the ‘Free Solar Panel’ scheme, where by you effectively rent your roof out in return for using all the free electricity that is generated. In these instances you will need to look very carefully at the lease and find out who is responsible for what!

If you have any issues regarding problems with the installation of solar panels at your property why not drop me a line at wjames@fidler.co.uk or give me a call on 01623 45111. I have numerous blogs on the subject of solar panels so please also visit our website for information on this subject also.

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Property    No Comments

Here is a quick 6 step guide to a commercial property sale transaction:- 

Step 1   We will obtain evidence of the title of the property, we can obtain up to date information from the land registry (if the property is registered)  but we would also ask that you provide us with your title deeds.  If you have a mortgage then the title deeds may be held by your bank or building society.

Step 2 We will draft up the contract detailing the terms agreed for the sale.

Step 3 We will need you to provide us with replies to CPSE enquiries, these are a standard set of questions which will be raised by the purchaser, but we will guide you through these and complete them on your behalf. We will also need to obtain from you all the relevant documentation such as planning consents/fire safety certificates etc.

Step 4 We will send all of the documentation onto the buyer’s solicitor. If they raise any questions we will ensure that these are dealt with swiftly.

Step 5  Once the parties are ready, contracts will be exchanged. This means that both the seller and buyer have signed the contracts and these forms are swapped. On exchange the agreement becomes binding.  The buyer will also provide a deposit usually equal to 10% of the purchase price. A date will then be set for completion.

Step 6  Sale transactions – On the day of completion we receive the balance of the sale price and in return we will hand over the ownership of the property to the buyer. We will use the monies to repay any mortgage that was held against the property and to pay the fees in connection with the sale such as the estate agents and our fees. The remaining money will then be sent onto you.

If you are planning on selling a commercial property please consider obtaining a fixed quote from us by clicking here or by making contact with Christie Limb at climb@fidler.co.uk or on 01623 448302.

Christie Limb



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