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Commercial Lease Tenants - be aware of your automatic rights:

If you are a tenant of a commercial property under a lease, depending on the circumstances, you may have the right to remain in the property beyond the expiry date of your Lease. Whatsmore, you may also have the right to request a new lease from your landlord, which would secure your occupation of the property for a further period. These rights are statutory rights automatically given to tenants under legislation, unless the tenant agrees to relinquish these rights before entering into their lease. Such rights can be incredibly beneficial for tenants, but many tenants remain unaware of the same.

As a tenant, you will automatically benefit from these rights unless before you entered into your lease, your landlord served what is known as a ‘Warning Notice’ on you and you signed or swore a ‘Declaration’ (statement) in front of an independent solicitor, confirming that you relinquish the above rights. Both the Warning Notice and the Declaration are only validly served if they are served once the form of Lease has been agreed and they must both follow a standard prescribed form.

Therefore, if neither of the above were served on you as a tenant and you did not sign or swear a Declaration, you will be entitled to remain in the property beyond the expiry date of your lease and will not have to vacate, which may be of huge benefit to you if you had no plans to move or wanted to move to another premises but hadn’t yet managed to arrange another lease. Furthermore, you would also have the right to request a new lease from your landlord. Your landlord would only be able to refuse you a new lease if (amongst other circumstances) you were in rent arrears, or if the landlord wished to develop the property or occupy it himself. Your landlord would have to apply to court to remove you from the property in this case. You would also have a right to a new lease on similar terms to your previous lease, which again could be very beneficial if your previous lease contained favourable terms from a tenant’s perspective.