Commercial leases are notoriously complex and can impose particularly onerous and costly conditions. It is essential to seek legal advice before entering into any commercial rental agreement.
Expert commercial property advice and guidance
At Hutchinson Thomas we work with franchisees across a range of sectors. We have extensive experience in commercial property and will offer you clear and practical advice if you are considering taking on a commercial lease.
We understand the business requirements of franchisees and we can work with you to negotiate the best possible deal with your franchisor or with a commercial landlord. We will ensure that your rights are protected as far as possible and that you fully understand the risks and liabilities involved.
Our firm is an accredited member of the British Franchise Association and we adhere to their high standards of ethical British franchising.
Taking on commercial premises as a franchisee
Your franchise agreement will set out whether you have the responsibility of finding and leasing premises or whether your franchisor will do this and sublet them to you.
Either way, you will be taking on a large expense when you agree to a commercial lease or sublease, and the agreement you sign is likely to be onerous.
Responsibility for repairs is often a key issue. A landlord may often try to insist that you hand a property back in a good state of repair, even if it was not in a good condition when you first leased it. We can advise you in respect of this type of onerous condition and make sure that your interests are safeguarded.
We can also advise you in respect of the term of the lease, which should ideally correspond with the term of your franchise. Other clauses to be aware of include the right to sublet or assign and the terms of any rent review.
Your franchisor may also have strict requirements when it comes to the fitting out of the premises, and you may be required to use their contractors and pay the franchisor for the costs.
If you are allowed to choose your own premises, your franchisor may well still set out certain criteria and retain the right to object. They are also likely to request that the landlord enters into a deed of option, allowing them to take on the lease in the event that you decide to leave.
You must also make sure you are aware of all the costs involved in taking on a lease. As well as rent, other expenses are likely to include a substantial deposit, with the risk of deductions being made when it is time to hand back the property, service charges to cover insurance, maintenance and utility bills, repairs and business rates.
Our franchise team and commercial property experts work closely together to ensure that you and your franchise are provided with expert advice across all of your business needs.
Hutchinson Thomas is the first law firm in Wales to be awarded the Law Society Mark of Excellence. The firm and many of our lawyers are recognised year on year in the Legal 500 publication as leading individuals in their field.
We have in-depth experience of the franchise industry and as well as leading expertise we provide excellent service to our franchisee clients. We will take the time to understand your business needs and make sure we are always available to speak to you when needed to answer any questions you may have.
If you are considering taking on a commercial lease for your franchise and you would like advice from one of our expert solicitors, ring us on the following numbers or fill in our contact form.