Top Tips

Top Tips

Top Tips – What to Look Out for When Taking a Commercial Lease


A commercial lease can be a nightmare experience for the uninitiated, the unprepared and the unadvised – with significant costs (often unforeseen) and potentially very long term ramifications. Never has ‘caveat emptor’ been more appropriate than when contemplating acquiring a property via a commercial lease – you have been warned!

But to provide some guidance if you are considering taking on a commercial lease we have compiled a short list of our tips for dos and don’ts:

Do Not

  • Sign a commercial lease without at least having one conversation with an RICS qualified commercial property surveyor. Appointing a surveyor to act on your behalf can save you money, stress and time.
  • Agree to a rent or premium without checking (with a surveyor) that it’s appropriate and fair.
  • Take a lease on any property, for any length of term, without being entirely clear about your repairing obligations whilst you are the occupier, and about the condition that the property needs to be in when you hand it back to the owner at the end of the term.
  • Accept an “uncapped” repairing liability without having a survey of the property. Ideally the survey should be used as a schedule of condition but at the very least it enlightens you as to what your repairing obligation might cost you over the term of the lease.
  • Accept a break clause that is conditional upon any clause other than the obligation to pay rent, up until the date of the break.


  • Measure the property and take photographs.
  • Check your planning use, and check that the property has the appropriate use that you require.
  • Check whether you are dealing with the freeholder, or an existing or former occupier, and check who’s paying whose costs.
  • Keep a record of relevant dates, e.g. terms agreed, lease completed, date of occupation, break notice date, rent review date, lease expiry, insurance renewal date and rent payment dates.

Initial advice is vitally important to save you time, money and extra hassle. To find out more contact:-

Fiona Brownfoot

Hicks Baker

0118 955 7083