by Claire Miller – Partner, Head of Property, Penman Sedgwick LLP

In my previous column I highlighted the impact of the current pandemic on the provisions in many commercial leases relating to payment of quarterly rents – something that is still an issue for many landlords and tenants with the advent of the June quarter day. In this issue I focus on the impact the pandemic is having on the occupational requirements of some commercial tenants.

Quite apart form the economic effect the pandemic is having on businesses in general, huge numbers of people are not working form home, and at least some element of remote working is likely to the be a feature for many business in the future – even after social distancing rules have eased. Big corporates are actively considering their offices requirements and reducing their office space going forward, having seen how successfully their workforce has adapted to working from home.

However, a lease is a commitment to rent defined premises for a fixed term. What are the options when a tenant no longer needs all of the space it has committed to? We can help with the following (whether acting for a landing or tenant):

  • Negotiating a new lease of smaller premises and assisting with the legal aspects of the relocation of the business
  • Advising on the terms of a contractual break right in the lease (if application), dealing with the service of the break notice and advising on the obligations to be complied with on or before the end of term
  • Documenting the early surrender of the lease (if agreement is reached with the landlord) and, if the surrender is of only part of the premises demised by the lease, agreeing the consequential variations required to the terms of the lease
  • If you are looking for legal advice, we can help.