Written by: Steven Jones on Tuesday 28/02/2017
As a commercial landlord, there will inevitably come a time when you need or want to move a tenant out of your property. We look at some of the most common reasons why this situation arises and how to go about achieving it.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954
If the commercial lease your tenant has signed is inside the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the 54 Act), it offers a measure of protection to them. It includes the right to take up a new tenancy at the end of their lease, providing there are not statutory grounds for possession by the landlord. That is to say, that the tenant has fulfilled all his or her obligations within the law and the lease.
If you wish to remove a tenant from your commercial building, you must serve them statutory notice and provide a termination date which must be no less than six months and no more than 12 months from the date of the notice. In these circumstances, a statutory ground for possession may include your intention to redevelop the property, either by demolition and reconstruction, or to use the premises for your own purposes. Most tenants will accept these circumstances, but if they object, it may be necessary to go to court to convince a judge of your intentions.
However, if your tenant has signed a lease which excludes them from the 54 Act, they have no such protection and repossession of the commercial property is a more straightforward matter.
Non-payment of rent: This is one of the most common reasons why a landlord would want to move a tenant out of their commercial property. This constitutes a breach in the tenancy agreement and there are ways and means of dealing with it. However, you must seek legal advice as to how to proceed, and follow specific steps to avoid costly litigation.
Non-compliance of lease obligations: This can include a number of issues, including things such as abandonment, not keeping the premises in good repair and/or allowing it to fall into disrepair, causing a nuisance to the neighbours (whether through noise, pollution or anti-social behaviour which may include employees parking without due consideration), subletting without your permission, or if the tenant has used the property for illegal purposes.
You should be aware, however, that if you wish to forfeit the lease and remove your tenant, it must contain a clause which allows you to do so. This highlights the importance of having a lease drawn up by a commercial property specialist who has experience of the types of problems which commercial landlords encounter on a regular basis.
If you need advice or information on any aspect of removing a commercial tenant, talk to a member of our team. We can advise you on how to proceed legally, safely and with the minimum of disruption to your commercial interests.