Commercial property tenancies – what to do when disputes arise

Landlord Tenant Dispute

Renting out a commercial property can be a win-win situation for both sides. Landlords have a property where costs are covered by the tenants and tenants get an affordable place from which to operate their business.

And in many instances, the rental process is smooth, with both parties’ needs sufficiently met.

However, there are times when the relationship between landlord and tenant can break down and cause disputes to arise.

From rent arrears to anti-social behaviour, rent increases to repairs, disputes can arise for any number of reasons. Typical commercial tenancy disputes include:

  • termination of business tenancies under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954
  • lease renewal applications/objections (section 25/26 notices)
  • forfeiture
  • service of section 146 notices under the Law of Property Act 1925
  • recovery of rent arrears
  • boundary disputes
  • dilapidations disputes
  • service of notices, including notices served under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

How to avoid commercial tenancy disputes

As with any kind of dispute, the aim from the outset should be to try to resolve matters amicably.

Tips to help you resolve a dispute include:

  • keeping lines of communication open by avoiding shouting, hostility and defensiveness
  • being empathetic to the other side’s viewpoint
  • keeping the matter in perspective
  • listening to the other side
  • being open to all reasonable solutions.

A factor which can often impact the smooth running of a commercial tenancy is that commercial leases can often be complex documents, that both landlords and tenants struggle to interpret.

Getting straight-forward legal advice on the lease from the outset can pay dividends in the future, should problems arise. Along with advising on the lease itself, a legal specialist can also advise on the rights, and obligations, that both tenants and landlords have.

How to resolve landlord and tenant disputes

If you are the landlord of a commercial property or a tenant renting your place of business, and have any concerns or are facing issues, you may be wondering what your next step is. 

In the first instance, remain calm. While the situation is undoubtedly stressful, adding further stress to the situation by shouting or losing your temper is unlikely to help matters.

If possible keep communicating with the other party. This can be face to face, via text message, email or letter. Be mindful though that written messages are not always construed in the way the writer intended, so keep them polite, clear and concise.

While resolving any dispute as quickly and amicably as possible will be your main aim, do bear in mind that this may not be possible. To help your case, should the matter escalate to legal proceedings, from the start keep an accurate log of any incidents, including dates, notes of what happened, and, if relevant, take photos.

Here at Smith Partnership, our team of specialist solicitors are experts in dispute resolution, with a number of the team boasting extensive experience in commercial property disputes.

For more information, or to arrange an appointment, contact the dispute resolution team on 01332 225 225.