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I have been contacted by a client in a complete panic asking me to get him out of a hole. He had a lease of business premises within the protection of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954, the contractual term of which came to an end on 31 December 2011. In June of last year he was served with a non-hostile Landlord’s Section 25 Notice terminating his tenancy as at 31 December 2011. The Notice stipulated the terms upon which the Landlord was prepared to agree a renewal. My client had no issue with those terms and so simply filed the Notice, assuming the renewal would just take its course. Sadly, he didn’t advise me of receipt of the Notice and now finds himself in the position of having received a letter from the Landlord’s Solicitors demanding vacant possession in two weeks' time.
If you receive a Section 25 Notice from your Landlord terminating your tenancy you MUST pass it to a Solicitor immediately who can take a number of steps on your behalf. Firstly, they will contact the Landlord’s Solicitors to try to agree a postponement of your need as tenant to make a Court application to safeguard your right to a new lease in order to allow time for negotiations to progress. If the Landlord does not play ball and agree an extension, your Solicitor will apply to the court for a new tenancy. In order to safeguard your position, all this must be done before the tenancy expiry date stipulated in the Section 25 Notice. If you don't, you could end up in the situation of my client, with a business which will be coming to a rather abrupt end. Even if the Landlord is prepared to issue you with a new tenancy, (and in my client’s case, they are not), your ability to negotiate terms is severely hampered if you have failed to protect your position.
For further advice regarding Section 25 Notices or general business tenancy issues, please contact Sue Scott in our Commercial Property Department, either by telephone on 01483 861848 or by email.