Q. I want to move from my premises and have found someone who wants to take the lease – but the landlord is being very difficult and I might lose this person. Is there anything I can do?
Hugh Ellins, commercial property lawyer, Charles Lucas & Marshall
A landlord now has a statutory obligation to act reasonably and without delay. If he does not then he is liable to a claim in damages.
As ever, life is a little more complex than the short answer would imply. The landlord is entitled to satisfy himself the new tenant (assignee) will be able to pay the rent and meet other obligations in the lease. The landlord is therefore able to raise enquiries and until he has satisfactory answers, can refuse consent. Additionally, your lease may contain conditions relating to the assignee which have to be met. Until those conditions are met, the landlord can refuse.
You should first check, or get the lease checked by a solicitor, to see what it says about transferring the lease to an assignee. Assuming all the conditions are fulfilled or capable of fulfilment then remind the landlord of his statutory obligations and that he is at risk to a claim for damages.
If that does not work you are left with making an application to the court or just going ahead with the transaction. This is a high risk strategy and only to be adopted in extreme cases.
For further information contact Hugh Ellins on 01793 511055 or email@example.com