Commercial Lease UK: What You Need to Know 2023

commercial lease
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Commercial leases can be difficult to understand, particularly if you’ve never leased a commercial property before. Choosing the right commercial lease for your needs and growth trajectory can make or break your firm, especially in the early stages.

That is why we have decided to be of help. Here, we have put together this handy guide just to help you discover all you need to know about a commercial lease, including its types and the steps you need to take before opting for one. Read on to discover more!

What is a Commercial Lease?

A commercial lease is an agreement between a landlord and a tenant to use commercial property. This lease grants the tenant the right to use the property for commercial purposes for an agreed-upon period of time in exchange for rent payments. Commercial leases often help to clearly explain each party’s unique rights and responsibilities under the agreement. These rights and obligations frequently include whether renters can sublet space to another party, the penalties of terminating the lease, and a variety of other aspects.

Office space, retail stores, and industrial facilities are common uses for commercial lease agreements. When signing a commercial lease, it is critical to thoroughly analyse the terms and conditions to verify that they match your company’s requirements. You must, for example, define how much space you will require, how long you will use it, and what types of commercial operations will be permitted.

It is also crucial to understand your lease agreement’s rights and responsibilities. You may have the right to sublet or alter the property, but you may also be responsible for maintenance or cleaning. You can help guarantee that your business has the space it needs to succeed by understanding the terms of your lease.

What is Included in a Commercial Lease?

A commercial lease will usually have the following clauses, which are agreed upon by the landlord and tenant:

This will be a description of the property you seek to lease, as it appears on the property deed. The address, floor plan, any limits, fixtures (such as toilets or fixed cabinets), and associated furnishings (sometimes known as chattels, such as desks or white goods) are often included.

#2. Rental conditions and reviews

The lease will specify how rent payments will be made, including the amount, frequency, and any other terms. Landlords may charge fixed rentals, a portion of your business income, or require you to fund all or part of the costs of bills, maintenance, and insurance on the property.

A rent review clause is usually included, which explains when and how your rent may be updated to reflect market conditions.

#3. Lease duration

The lease term specifies how long a lease will be valid for and how the lease will be handled when it expires. Include any renewal or rolling agreements that you or your landlord intend to implement. Fixed-term leases, which expire on a specific date, or automatic renewals, which occur on a regular basis according to the terms provided, are examples of such arrangements.

Different lease contracts will have various notice periods or rights defining how lease conditions might be altered during renewal periods.

#4. Break clause

This optional clause specifies how and when a lease agreement can be cancelled without penalty by either the landlord or the tenant. There are frequently restrictions on the minimum length of tenancy and the longer notice periods required to invoke a break clause. These provisions can be negotiated with your landlord to fit your specific company needs.

#5. Assignment and subletting rules

These optional clauses provide the tenant with additional rights to either assign the lease to another party (assignment) or rent the property to another tenant (subletting).

Subletting may require the creation of a sublease agreement with your new renter. This can be a lengthy process, and not all landlords will approve such stipulations, but they do provide additional security if you believe your rental responsibilities for the full period are too high.

#6. Usage terms

A landlord may incorporate these rules to limit the types of activities that can take place on a commercial property. If the nature of the business changes, it may be required to renegotiate with the landlord or be barred from using the property entirely.

Types of Commercial Leases

Commercial leases come in many different forms, some of which are as follows:

#1. Gross Lease

A gross lease, sometimes known as a full service lease, is a type of commercial lease in the United Kingdom in which the tenant pays the landlord a single, all-inclusive rental charge each month. This comprises the property’s rent as well as any other building expenses such as utilities, janitorial services, and property insurance. Furthermore, gross leases make landlords responsible for property taxes and insurance fees.

#2. Modified Gross Lease

A modified gross lease is a type of commercial lease in the United Kingdom in which the base rent is normally indicated as a monthly amount. However, the lessee may also be liable for a share of the property’s operating expenses, such as upkeep, repairs, and insurance. The terms of a modified gross lease might vary significantly, so make sure you understand all of the terms and circumstances before signing on the dotted line.

#3. Net Lease

A net lease is a type of commercial lease in which the tenant pays a share of the property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs in addition to the monthly rent. This can be advantageous for landlords because it relieves them of the responsibility for property maintenance. They are also helpful for tenants because they allow them to better control their spending and budget.

#4. Single Net Lease

Single-net leases shift the burden of property taxes from landlords to tenants. This sort of commercial lease is uncommon in the United Kingdom, as double and triple net leases are significantly more popular. Tenants are only responsible for rental charges and property taxes under a single net lease.

#5. Double Net Lease

Double-net leases are far more common than single-net leases since they pass on both property taxes and insurance costs to the tenant. This sort of commercial lease transfers maintenance costs to the landlord, which makes sense for firms leasing space in a large building with several users.

#6. Triple Net Lease

A triple net lease (NNN lease) is a type of commercial lease under which the tenant is responsible for all running expenses associated with the property, such as property taxes, insurance, and maintenance. The term “triple net” refers to the three primary categories of expenses that the renter normally covers. Most of the time, these leases are used to lease entire properties to businesses, such as office buildings, retail stores, and warehouses.

#7. Percentage Lease

A percentage lease requires the tenant to pay the landlord a share of their profits in addition to the base rental fee. The percentage of earnings given to the landlord varies every lease, as does the point at which this percentage payment kicks in, often known as the break-even point. Retail establishments, such as restaurants and stores, frequently employ percentage leases. They are also utilised for office space and other forms of commercial space on occasion.

Things to Know Before Signing a Commercial Lease

Signing a commercial lease is significantly different from renting a residential home, with a variety of duties that can catch you off guard if you are not prepared.

Here are the top questions every potential commercial tenant should ask before signing a lease:

#1. What am I actually leasing?

This is critical since it specifies which places you can use for your business and usually outlines what you may be required to repair. Is it an ‘eggshell’ lease or the entire property, including the roof and surrounding land?

#2. Have I been given an incentive to lease the property?

Rent-free or reduced-rent periods, as well as other similar incentives, are frequently offered to tenants. If you have reached an agreement with the landlord, make sure it is reflected in the formal lease documents. Your legal counsel can walk you through the many choices for dealing with these temptations and protecting your position.

#3. What have I agreed to ‘keep in repair’?

If you agree to ‘keep the property in repair,’ you are agreeing to ‘place and keep’ the property in repair. This means that the landlord may require you to perform repairs to any defects that existed before you acquired the lease.

though you are expected to keep the property in ‘good repair and condition,’ this is more onerous because you may be required to carry out repairs even though there is no damage.

When negotiating the final conditions of a lease, you might strive to reduce your liability, and your legal counsel can outline some choices.

#4. How long will I be bound by the lease?

For the time being, business may be thriving, but keep in mind that things can change, and you will be responsible for rent for the whole length of the lease, even if things take a turn for the worse. This could result in you and your company being evicted from the premises and, ultimately, insolvency.

#5. Can I terminate the lease early?

Break provisions in leases can help you shorten the term, but be aware of any restrictions or circumstances that may limit your ability to use them. One typical one is that you must be current on your rent up to the point of the lease break; thus, you cannot normally use a break provision as a ‘get out of jail free’ card if you run into financial difficulties.

#6. Do I have security of tenure?

Depending on how the lease is written, you may be able to renew your lease at the conclusion of the specified period.

You may also obtain security if you stay in the property after your term has ended and your landlord continues to accept your rent payments. Of course, this is dependent on the circumstances, so you should not presume you have security without first seeking legal guidance on your unique situation.

#7. Can I transfer the lease or sublet?

Many commercial landlords allow tenants to transfer or underlet their lease to a third party, but only with their permission and subject to specific terms. This could include you acting as a guarantee for the new tenant, and the landlord is likely to charge you for obtaining their approval.

#8. Am I allowed to alter any part of the property I am leasing?

renovations to any exterior or structural part of the property are frequently forbidden, whereas internal non-structural renovations are frequently permitted with the landlord’s prior written authorization. When you give consent, the landlord may impose a number of restrictions forcing you to carry out the alterations in a specific manner, and you may be compelled to remove your alterations at the end of the lease, which can be very expensive.

#9. Is the rent fixed for the whole of the term?

Is it possible for the landlord to review the rent at any time? If so, on what grounds? What if there is disagreement? How will this be settled? All of this should be addressed in the lease. Make sure you understand the method for rent review in your lease so that when the landlord brings it up, you know where you stand and can budget accordingly.

How Do I Renew my Commercial Lease?

A Section 26 Form can be used to renew or change the conditions of a lease after its set duration has expired. Landlords may refuse a renewal only if they have reasonable grounds to do so, as defined in Section 30(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

How Long Does it Take to Sign a Commercial Lease?

The time it takes to sign a lease is determined by how long any lease talks last in order to ensure that both the landlord and the tenant are satisfied with the lease agreement. Solicitors may be able to speed up the process or advise on adjustments that may make agreements easier or more protective for either side.

How Do I Lease Commercial Property?

To lease commercial property, you and the landlord must agree on the lease terms, which will include the property in issue, the rent payment arrangements, the lease period, and the rules of usage. A solicitor may be necessary to advise you on your lease agreement and ensure that your property requirements are met.

How Do I End my Commercial Lease?

Depending on the conditions of their lease, tenants and landlords may be entitled to terminate their commercial lease. If you are still inside the length of your lease, you may be able to invoke your break clause or negotiate a lease change with your landlord or renter. If the term of your commercial lease has expired, you can terminate it using either a Section 25 Form (for landlords) or a Section 26 Form (for tenants), provided you are not “contracted out.”

What is the Minimum Term for a Commercial Lease?

A lease period might be as short as one day and as long as 999 years.Commercial leases do not have a minimum or maximum period. Commercial leases, on the other hand, typically have terms that are fixed, ranging from one to twenty-five years.


This essay has effectively covered all you need to know before signing a commercial lease. It is also important to note that the preceding is intended to be a guide to some of the primary topics to consider when entering into a lease and is not intended to be advice. If you believe any of the following issues apply to your situation, you should contact your legal representative for specific and personalised counsel.


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