Understanding Commercial Property Law
Property Law, also known as Real Estate law, is highly complex and covers many different areas within its scope, from property finance, mortgage lending and broking, social housing, through construction and planning law, to issues between landlord and tenants in a dispute. Property law is the area of Law that covers the various types of ownership or tenancy, relating to what is termed immovable property, as opposed to movable property, that covers personal property, such as the car or boat.
Conveyancing is the transfer of legal title of property between two parties and has two main phases. It commences with an exchange of contracts, between the buyer and the seller, and the completion stage, also known as settlement, when the legal title passes, and equitable right become merged with the legal title. While it is possible to undertake conveyancing yourself, it is extremely inadvisable, as the process is time consuming and highly complex. If a mortgage is involved, the mortgage company will normally insist that a legal representative is used to ensure it is done properly.
A lease is a written agreement between two parties, providing a tenant exclusive right to occupy and use the landlord’s property for a set period of time. It will set out the obligations of both parties in relation to the property. Many commercial leases can be of a substantial length and be very complicated in its wording. Initially the two parties will agree on the fundamental terms and record them in a document known as the Heads of Terms, which forms the basis of the lease, which will then be drafted by the landlord’s lawyers. It is highly advisable to have this proposed lease checked by your own legal representative, to ensure it is correct, but equally important to run what is known as investigating title. This essentially ensures the landlord is legally in a position to actually grant a lease, and it should be checked to see if there are any restrictions on the property, which could prevent you from actually conducting your business operations at that place. While a code of practice has been in place in the UK since 2007, it is voluntary, so your commercial property solicitor from Leeds to London really should do the checks for you.
Commercial Property Disputes
Disputes involving commercial property can affect your business if a tenant, or your investment if you are a landlord. If one party is not complying with the terms of the lease, it is essential to get good advice swiftly. Maybe the landlord is not keeping the property adequately maintained, or maybe the tenant has fallen behind with the rent, or is facing insolvency. Many disputes when dealt with promptly by each side’s legal representatives, can be quickly and cost effectively dealt with, without having to go to court.
As with all aspects of Commercial Property Law, it is essential that you have good professional advice on exactly where you stand legally. It is not enough to believe you are in the right and take a course of action of your own. The industry is very competitive and the smart businessman, will always use a professional in this area.