Commercial Property Licence

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Commercial Property licences are documents commonly used in commercial letting. However, they are also often a source of confusion, particularly when mistaken for a lease. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, it is extremely important to know the difference between these two agreements in order to avoid ending up in a tricky dispute without the legal rights you assumed you could rely on.

If you are a tenant or landlord looking to grant or obtain a commercial property licence, we would strongly advise talking to a Solicitor experienced in Commercial Property law beforehand.

What are Commercial Property Licences?

A Commercial Property licence is an agreement between tenant and landlord (or licensee and licensor) that gives the tenant the right to occupy a property in a commercial capacity for a predetermined period.

More important than what a licence is, is what it is not. A licence is not a lease. Crucially, a licence grants the licensee permission to use the premises in question, but it does not confer any further rights, for example to exclusivity, rent control, or right to remain. Usually licences are granted where you share premises either with the landlord or other businesses.

Getting these two terms confused can be disastrous. A tenant might get a nasty surprise when their landlord decides to terminate their licence; equally, if a landlord has granted their tenant a lease rather than a licence, they may find themselves tied into a lengthy contract they would have preferred to avoid.

What are the advantages of Commercial Property Licences?

Commercial Property licences are typically short-term agreements between landlord and tenant. They offer no security of tenure and can be terminated by either party after a notice period. This makes them ideally suited to temporary arrangements, where their flexibility and low cost are advantageous.

What are the disadvantages of Commercial Property Licences?

For the same reason that Commercial Property licences offer advantages to landlords and tenants looking for a flexible, short term solution, they have many drawbacks compared to leases for those looking for a long term, stable arrangement.

Licences do not offer many rights beyond simple permission to occupy the premises. Crucially, they do not benefit from the security of tenure – the right to remain at a property once the licence has come to an end. There is also no rent control and no rights to exclusive use of the property included in commercial property licences.

What We Can Offer You

If you are looking for a premises to locate your business, or you are a landlord with a property and are seeking tenants, it is crucial you are aware of the difference between a licence and a lease.

This is particularly important as simply labelling an agreement a licence or a lease does not necessarily make it one. If you are a landlord and your contract offers your tenant exclusive use of your premises, for example, then you are placing yourself at risk of having that agreement be deemed a lease, regardless of whether your intention was only to grant a licence.

Leasing commercial property can often involve negotiating a complex world of legal jargon and lengthy contracts. Whether you are a prospective landlord or tenant, it is strongly advisable that you seek legal advice and guidance from an experienced Commercial Property Solicitor before committing to any agreements. Our Commercial Property team have many years of experience demystifying legal terminology, offering guidance, and helping landlords and tenants make arrangements that suit their specific needs.

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email, or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form to arrange a free, no-obligation discussion and let us explain your legal rights and options.

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Shakeel Mir

Partner & Head of Department
Commercial Property &
Residential Conveyancing

Shakeel qualified as a Solicitor in 1990 and has experience of working at both regional and city firms. He is multi-disciplined and can offer clients a wealth of expertise in Residential Conveyancing and Commercial Property matters

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