Commercial Property Disputes

Taking on a commercial property is often the most challenging and costly area of investment for a business. If a disagreement arises, it can be damaging and disruptive. Commercial property law is a complex area and it is always advisable to seek legal help without delay to try to resolve any issues before they escalate.

At Griffith Smith, we have extensive expertise across a full range of commercial property disputes and we can advise you on the best course of action to enforce your rights and end any disagreement.

Where possible, we will work with you to resolve issues without recourse to the court. Commercial property litigation can be time-consuming and reaching a negotiated settlement is generally a quicker and more cost-effective option. You can also be sure that the result will be acceptable to you, rather than having a potentially unwanted outcome imposed on you by the court.

Our team of expert commercial property lawyers includes Paul Harrington who is a commercial property litigator with over 40 years’ experience and a Law Society Accredited Civil Mediator.

For other non-disputed commercial property issues, please see our Commercial Property page.

Speak to our commercial property disputes solicitors in Sussex now

To find out more about how we can help you with a commercial property dispute, please contact your local Griffith Smith office in Brighton or Hassocks.

Or you can get in touch by email or use our simple online enquiry form.

Our commercial property dispute resolution expertise

Breach of covenant

In entering into a commercial lease, both landlord and tenant will agree to a number of covenants stipulating what may and may not be done during the term of the lease. Examples include keeping the property in good repair, paying the rent when due and not assigning the lease without the landlord’s consent.

If a breach of covenant has resulted in a loss, then the aggrieved party may be able to claim damages. We can advise you of your rights and the likelihood of bringing a successful action.

It is important that landlords do not ignore a breach of covenant, as there is a risk that this could be an acceptance of the new situation and a waiving of their rights to bring legal action against a tenant.

Dilapidation claims

Commercial leases can be onerous when it comes to keeping a property in good repair. If a tenant is responsible for handing back the property in a certain state of repair, then disagreements may arise over whether this condition has been met or not.

A schedule of dilapidations will usually be prepared by the landlord, to which the tenant can respond and put their own suggestions as to the amount of any payment to be made. It is important to engage in this stage of the process, as the court may penalise those who do not. In fact, it is often possible to resolve a dilapidation claim by negotiation without the need for litigation.

Forfeiture and possession

If a tenant breaches the terms of the lease, it may be serious enough that the lease could be forfeited. This involves ending the lease and requiring the tenant to leave.

It is important to take legal advice if forfeiture is contemplated. While it could clearly be very damaging for the tenant’s business, it can also be risky for the landlord to attempt without being sure that they have the right to terminate. If it is done incorrectly or without proper cause, then a tenant could bring a claim for damages for losses resulting from the eviction.

Lease disputes

A lease is a complex document with wide scope for disagreement. As well as covenants and repairing clauses it will also usually include issues such as lease renewal, review of the amount payable in rent, when payments are due, service charges, what alterations are permissible and change of use of the premises.

Both the landlord and tenant will have obligations under the lease and if either party fails to carry them out, the other could potentially bring proceedings to remedy the problem.

We can work with you to identify your rights and the options for resolving a dispute over a lease. Quite often, the best course of action is a negotiation with the other party. In any event, we can advise you on the remedy that will be most beneficial to your business.

Lease renewal and security of tenure

A lease for more than six months generally provides the tenant with security of tenure, meaning that the tenant has an automatic right to continue in possession of the premises.

There are some circumstances in which a landlord can issue a notice to quit, such as failure to repair and maintain the property, regularly late payment of rent or a major breach of obligations under the lease.

The landlord may also be able to require a tenant to leave if they wish to demolish or redevelop the building, or occupy it themselves.

It is essential that the correct procedure is followed by any landlord wishing to regain their property.

Rent and service charge recovery

If the tenant is struggling financially, then service charges and rent payments may fall into arrears. It is important for a landlord to deal with the issue in accordance both with the terms of the lease and with relevant legislation to ensure their rights remain intact.

It may sometimes be commercially advantageous to make an allowance, such as renegotiating terms, to keep a tenant on, but it is vital to do this through the correct legal procedure so as not to waive any rights and to ensure the agreement is on a sound legal footing in case of future difficulties.

Dealing with a commercial property dispute

Early intervention goes a long way to ensuring a disagreement does not escalate and become a major issue for all involved. Taking pragmatic legal advice and negotiating with the other party to find an acceptable solution can often ensure that a profitable relationship can resume.

As well as working with you to find a negotiated settlement, we can also represent you robustly should the issue proceed to court. For more information, see our Commercial Litigation page. Our property litigation solicitors have a strong track record of success in bringing legal actions to enforce rights over commercial property.

Speak to our commercial property disputes solicitors in Sussex now

At Griffith Smith, our commercial property disputes solicitors are widely experienced in all types of real estate disputes. We understand how disruptive a disagreement can be and will work to resolve difficulties as quickly as possible so that you can focus on building your business.

If you are experiencing a commercial property issue and you would like to discuss the matter with one of our expert lawyers, please contact your local Griffith Smith office in Brighton or Hassocks.

Or you can get in touch by email or use our simple online enquiry form

For more information please contact a member of our team


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