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Commercial Property

Commercial property is a complex and challenging area of law. We act for individuals and businesses across a full range of commercial property transactions, providing practical, reliable advice and genuine legal expertise.

Our commercial property lawyers in Kent have in-depth legal knowledge and experience, advising clients in all sectors in respect of their commercial property transactions. Whether you are buying, selling or leasing commercial property, we can provide the support and commercially focused guidance you need.

Our commercial property services in Kent include the following:

Speak to our commercial solicitors in Kent today

Contact our commercial property solicitors in Kent at our offices in Ashford, Cranbrook or Hythe today by ringing us on 01233 624545 or fill in the enquiry form on the right hand side of the page to request a call back.

Our commercial property expertise

Sales and purchases of commercial property to include developments

Buying and selling commercial property involves a complex agreement, with both sides agreeing to certain restrictions and liabilities. It is important to ensure that your interests are protected and that you fully understand the implications of signing.

Where a sale or purchase agreement is ambiguous or does not accurately reflect what the parties intended, disputes can arise. This can be damaging to a business or a property investment as well as expensive and disruptive.

Our commercial property solicitors have a high level of experience in ensuring that agreements are drafted to suit clients’ specific requirements. We will negotiate robustly on your behalf to achieve the best possible deal.

Mortgages

If you will be obtaining finance for your commercial property acquisition, we will liaise with your lender as necessary. We will go through the loan agreement with you to make sure that the terms and conditions are acceptable to you, and we will arrange for funds to be forwarded in readiness for the completion day.

Leases, tenancies and licences

Arranging the right lease or other agreement for occupation of commercial premises is vital for both the landlord and tenant. It is not simple to walk away from a commercial occupation or to evict a tenant. For this reason, you need to be certain that the agreement you reach is right for your purposes from the start.

We can discuss your options with you and negotiate with the other party’s solicitor to agree on the best terms for your commercial lease, tenancy or licence.

Options, conditional contracts and overage

Where land has the potential to be developed, you may want to enter into an agreement that reflects this.

An option agreement can give a developer the right to buy land while they are exploring whether they will be able to obtain planning permission. This prevents the owner from selling to someone else if it becomes apparent that development will be possible. There are a range of different types of option agreements and we can advise you on the best type for your situation.

An overage agreement on the sale of land gives the seller the right to payment should the buyer develop the land in the future, increasing its value.

A conditional contract allows a binding agreement for sale to be made but requires something to be done prior to completion, such as the securing of planning permission or the carrying out of specified works. Once the conditions have been completed, the sale is bound to be completed.

These types of contracts need careful drafting to ensure that they accurately set out the agreement between the parties. Our commercial property team regularly draw up option agreements, conditional contracts and overage agreement and will work with you to understand your needs and ensure that you have the right clauses in place for your circumstances.

Planning agreements

Planning agreements are generally used in conjunction with obtaining planning permission. A developer will be granted the permission they need to develop land in return for signing a planning agreement confirming that they will carry out certain work or that they will not develop the land in a particular way. Our team can negotiate and draft planning agreements to satisfy local authorities and give developers as much flexibility as possible.

Rights and easements

In buying or selling property, rights and easements may need to be granted over the land. We will work with you to assess what is necessary and draw up the required documentation to ensure that the property owner or other interested party has the rights they need.

Frequently asked questions about commercial property

What is commercial conveyancing?

Commercial conveyancing is the sale or purchase of a business property and often also refers to the leasing of commercial premises. Agreements for sale and commercial leases are complex, involving onerous obligations on the part of both parties.

In taking on commercial premises, it is essential to ensure the contract is tailored to suit your requirements and that your liabilities are limited as far as possible, as once you have entered into the agreement, it is not always easy to leave.

If you enter into a lease, you need an experienced commercial property solicitor who will be able to ensure that you do not end up having to pay for expensive repairs and maintenance for issues that were a problem before you took on the property.

How does buying commercial property work?

Once you have found a commercial property to buy, you will usually agree heads of terms with the seller. This is a list of the intentions of both parties in respect of the transaction and will include issues such as the purchase price, the rights that are included, covenants or restrictions in respect of the property, conditions of the sale, such as a satisfactory survey and the proposed dates for exchange of contracts and completion.

The seller’s solicitor will draw up the sale agreement and provide the buyer’s solicitor with property information, to include a copy of the legal title, details of any tenancies and standard replies to commercial property enquiries.

The buyer’s solicitor will order searches and go through all of the information supplied by the seller’s solicitor, raising appropriate enquiries.

If you will be obtaining finance, this will also be arranged at this point, with agreements sent to your solicitor.

Once your solicitor is satisfied that everything is in order and the terms of the contract have been agreed, you will provide a deposit and contracts will be exchanged. This is the point at which the purchase becomes legally binding and the date for completion will be set.

How does selling commercial property work?

If you are selling a commercial property, your solicitor will be the one responsible for drawing up the contract and will work with you to answer the enquiries raised by the buyer’s solicitor prior to exchange of contracts.

Experienced commercial property lawyers will be able to negotiate terms on your behalf to ensure that the best possible deal is agreed.

What is the difference between a commercial lease and a licence to occupy?

A commercial lease grants the tenant exclusive possession of the property for a fixed term in return for the payment of rent.

A licence to occupy is permission to use property or land but does not grant exclusive possession. It is generally a far less complicated document and will often allow either party to end the agreement at short notice.

A commercial lease is a complex and lengthy document covering all the rights and responsibilities of the tenant. Most businesses will want to secure a commercial lease as it provides more security as well as more rights, for example, in their usage of the property and changes they may wish to make.

It can take a considerable amount of time to negotiate and agree a commercial lease. A licence to occupy is a quicker and simpler document and is sometimes used to allow a potential tenant into premises while the terms of a lease are agreed upon.

I no longer want to remain at the premises for my business. What can I do to get out of my lease?

It is essential to look at what is contained in your lease. Your lease may provide you the rights to assign the lease, sublet or give notice. If so, exercising any of those rights can assist you in exiting the lease or allowing someone else to take over the existing lease.

If you can assign the lease or sublet the premises, you should look into whether your responsibilities and liabilities continue to take effect or if they will no longer apply to you completely.

We can provide tailored advice on what this can mean for your business and what responsibilities you may retain should you decide to assign the lease or sublet the premises.

I have agreed to sell my land to a developer at a fixed price. Can I get more money if the land gets planning permission?

It depends whether you have entered into an Overage agreement with the buyer. This will set out the terms upon which any increase in value is to be determined and distributed.  It is important that consideration is given to the terms to ensure that it is effective. Key terms that need consideration include:  how the Overage payment is calculated; when the payment is triggered; and the duration of the Overage.

If you have not entered into an Overage agreement, then you will not be entitled to any further payments and it is very unlikely any buyer would enter an Overage agreement after completion.

We can tailor an Overage agreement specific to your sale to ensure you get the best outcome and advise you on the terms of the agreement and how they will impact you.

Do I have to pay VAT on the rent for my commercial property?

The payment of VAT on rent depends entirely on whether the landlord has decided to opt to tax for VAT purposes. If the landlord has not, then rental payments are exempt. We will investigate during the transaction whether VAT is payable on the rent and discuss with you what this will mean for your business.

Should I seek legal advice before taking on a commercial lease?

Reading a commercial lease, or any legal document, can be quite difficult to understand at first glance. Clauses can have a significant implication for your business from a legal standpoint and it is important to seek advice as to what the lease means for your business.

You will be able to have your responsibilities and liabilities set out in a clear manner, allowing you to understand what you are taking on to prevent any expensive consequences down the line.

At Kingsfords, we deal with a large amount of commercial leasehold transactions and can provide excellent advice on what the lease means for your business. We can walk you through the steps of the transaction from the agreement of the heads of terms, right up to the completion of your lease.

I have found a plot of land that I want to develop. I want to buy the land but only if I can get planning permission. Is this possible?

Yes, this is possible. You can enter an agreement with the seller whereby the sale is subject to gaining planning permission. There are two methods of doing this either an option agreement or a conditional contract.

There are differences between the two types but one of the main differences is that with a conditional contract once satisfactory planning permission is obtained, the buyer is compelled to purchase the land. However, with an option agreement there is no obligation on the buyer to purchase.

With both types of contracts, it is very important that consideration is given to the terms of the document to ensure that the terms are clear.

We regularly deal with these types of contracts and can tailor them to suit you and your circumstances. This will give you the reassurance that are not going to spend money on purchasing land to later find out you cannot develop it due to planning constraints.

Will I need to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax when taking on a commercial lease?

This would depend on how long your lease is, the amount of any premium paid and how much rent you will be paying over the lease term. Based on these factor a complex formula calculates the net present value. The current threshold is £150,000.00 for commercial property.

When taking instructions from you, we will investigate whether you will be liable to pay SDLT and, if so, the amount that is. We will assist you in the preparation and filing of your Stamp Duty Land Tax return as part of the transaction if you are taking on a new lease.

Contact our commercial property solicitors in Kent

Speak to one of our commercial property lawyers in Kent at our offices in Ashford, Cranbrook or Hythe today by ringing us on 01233 624545 or fill in the enquiry form on the right hand side of the page to request a call back.

For more information, please call us on  01233 624545

  • Kellie Darke
      • Kellie Darke
      • Director (Licensed Conveyancer) & Head of Property
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  • John Edmonds
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  • James Mackay
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For more information please call us on  01233 624545