Commercial landlord & tenant disputes: what you need to know

Disputes with a landlord or tenant take many forms and are, unfortunately, all too common. That's why we've put together this brief guide about how to avoid a dispute and, if it's too late for that, what the next steps are.

Avoiding a dispute

The easiest way to avoid a costly dispute is prevention. A well drafted Commercial Lease will limit the scope for any dispute between landlord and tenant.

If you’re a landlord, it’s well worth getting a specialist commercial property solicitor to draw up a business lease which suits your needs. Ideally, this should be done before you take on any business tenants.

If you’re a tenant, you should have a commercial property lawyer look over any lease before you sign it. They’ll be able to advise you as to whether or not the lease suits your needs and if there are any parts of the lease which cause concern.

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If you’re already in dispute

If it’s too late for prevention and you’re already in a dispute, it’s generally worth first trying to solve things amicably. If this isn’t possible then it’s a very good idea to at least have an initial consultation with a commercial property lawyer. They’ll generally want to see the lease and any correspondence between you and the other side. They should then be able to advise you on the strength of your claim/defence and can continue to represent you if necessary.

If you receive a claim form from the other party, you should take legal advice as soon as possible. This is because you generally have a very limited time frame to file a response. Failure to respond within that time frame can mean you automatically lose the case!

If you’re considering issuing a claim form then, once again, you should speak to a lawyer. This is because the courts generally require a certain process to be followed when issuing a claim and failure to do so can jeopardise your case.

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Legal fees

Unfortunately, it’s usually not possible to get a fixed or estimated fee quote for a dispute or potential dispute. This is because the lawyers simply don’t know how much work is going to be involved.

The best thing to do is to get an initial consultation and then agree fee terms with the lawyer on an ongoing basis. For example, you could ask for a fixed fee or estimate for each identifiable stage of the work, or a capped fee which the lawyer can’t exceed without first getting authorisation from you.

For more about negotiating fees with lawyers, take a look at our handy Guide to Finding a Lawyer.


Our Lawyers

Tom Woodward

Sangita has worked in the litigation sector for 19 years and handles all aspects of dispute resolution and commercial litigation. Sangita specialises in three main areas: property litigation, probate disputes and professional negligence. Sangita is often considered the go-to litigator when posed with difficult and sometimes emotive cases.

Tom Woodward

Danielle specialises in Dispute Resolution and Commercial Litigation. She always strives to provide practical, tailor made solutions to each client’s specific business requirements.

Tom Woodward

Mark’s litigation practice covers a diverse range of issues, from corporate/commercial, to private client, property and negligence claims. In fact, there are few areas of commercial litigation he hasn't had exposure to. Mark is accustomed to advising individuals and businesses of all sizes and can communicate equally effectively with each.

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