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Common Commercial Lease Rights of a Tenant

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A business owner with a commercial lease is a party to the lease agreement as a tenant. A commercial lease agreement will contain the rights and obligations of each party to the lease. This article will detail some common rights of a commercial tenant in a property lease in the UK. 

Commercial Lease

A commercial lease is where a business owner occupies a property as their premises. The property owner is the landlord and permits the tenant to use the retail space for specific business activities. A commercial lease will last for a particular lease term.

In return for the occupation of the property, the tenant pays rent to the landlord. Both parties in a lease have rights and obligations set out in the commercial lease agreement, which they must follow, or they could breach the lease.

A tenant has some common rights in a lease. We will explore some examples below.

Rights of Support

Every lease should contain rights of support as these are crucial for any lease. It means that the landlord cannot remove structural support to the premises. This would naturally cause damage to the commercial premises and prevent the tenant from using it.

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Rights of Access

Naturally, every tenant needs access to their commercial premises, which is a common right in a lease. This does not simply refer to the right to enter the property but to use areas outside the commercial premises, such as elsewhere in the overall property, to enable access to the tenant’s premises. 

These rights can include, for example, the right to access:

  • a private road where the property is situated;
  • halls;
  • passages;
  • landings; and
  • lifts.

A commercial tenant may require the right to access such areas 24 hours, seven days a week, for their business, such as to accept specific deliveries. Regarding the need to make deliveries, a lease may also grant a tenant the right to use certain areas, such as service bays and goods lifts.

Use of Conduits by a Commercial Tenant

A fundamental right within a commercial lease is the right to use all conduits. This means the right to use, for example:

  • wires;
  • cables;
  • ducts;
  • pipes; and
  • drains.

This right is required to ensure access to the following:

  • electricity;
  • gas;
  • water; and
  • telecommunication services. 

A commercial lease that does not include these common rights for a tenant renders it ineffective for their business.

Rights of Escapes

A tenant must have the right of escape in a lease. Otherwise, they may not be able to use the premises safely. Without these rights, other areas of the lease could be affected, such as:

  • licence to sell alcohol for a restaurant, for example;
  • compliance with fire safety laws; and
  • the capacity of premises.

For example, it is advisable to get a fire assessor to check the commercial premises to advise what the lease requires.

Right to Signage

Depending on the tenant’s business type, they may require the right to signage in the lease. This is particularly likely for shop premises and restaurants to help customers locate the business. 

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A commercial lease will likely have further rules about signage, and rules outside the lease may also apply.

Right to Erect Scaffolding

A tenant may need to carry out work on the premises during the commercial lease. If so, a lease must grant the right to erect scaffolding to allow for this. 

Key Takeaways

A commercial lease is where a business owner occupies a property or part of their business premises. The landlord will charge rent in return. A lease agreement contains the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Tenants should enjoy these common rights, such as the right to access their commercial premises, as well as the right of escape.  

If you need help understanding the common rights of a tenant in a commercial lease, LegalVision’s experienced leasing lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0808 196 8584 or visit our membership page.

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