The Act and Order apply to tenants who occupy premises for the purpose of a business.
In England and Wales commercial leases which include the provisions of Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (The Act) gives business tenants the right:
However, in Northern Ireland, business tenants have these rights anyway as they cannot be excluded.
This protection is known as 'security of tenure'.
The Act or Order provides business owners with the knowledge and security that they will not be forced to relocate their business when the term of their commercial lease comes to an end.
The protection given to tenants by the Act or Order does not apply in the following circumstances:
In England and Wales, in order to exclude the Act from the provisions of the lease, the landlord must serve a notice on the tenant before entering into the lease warning him or her of the consequences of excluding the provisions of the Act. After receiving the notice, the tenant must sign a declaration confirming the notice has been received. The declaration may need to be witnessed by a solicitor if it is being signed within 14 days from the date that the lease is due to commence. The lease must also contain provisions stating that the Act is excluded and referring to the landlord's notice and tenant's declaration.
Both the landlord and tenant have a right to serve a written notice in order to terminate the lease.
The tenant's notice can be served before or after the term of the lease comes to an end, so long as the tenant has occupied the premises for at least one month. The notice does not have to be in a particular form but should be served no later than three months before the end of the term of the lease or give the landlord at least three months' notice if served after the end of the lease.
If the landlord wants to regain possession of the premises from the tenant, he or she must give a notice to the tenant no more than twelve months and no less than six months before the expiry of the fixed term of the lease. The landlord's notice must be in a prescribed form and must state the grounds under the Act or Order which are being relied upon. The grounds provided for in the Act or Order are as follows:
A landlord may be happy to grant a new lease to the tenant under new terms but in order to do so will need to serve a notice terminating the existing lease. This notice may be served one year before the lease expires and must specify the expiry date as the date of termination in the notice. The notice must be in a prescribed form and should contain some basic details of the landlord's proposed terms for the new lease. The notice should also state a date by which one of the parties must start court proceedings if an agreement cannot be reached.
Alternatively, the tenant may serve a notice in a prescribed form upon the landlord requesting a new lease. The notice should state a commencement date for the new lease being no more than twelve months and no less than six months from the date that the notice is served on the landlord. The notice should also state a date by which one of the parties must start court proceedings if an agreement cannot be reached.
Thereafter there is usually a period of time for the parties to negotiate the terms of a new lease and in the majority of cases the need to start court proceedings is usually avoided. Generally, the main term to be negotiated is the rent payable under the new lease.