Commercial conveyancing

Commercial conveyancing refers to the buying and selling of property, or the transfer of interests, for commercial purposes. As opposed to residential conveyancing, commercial conveyancing applies to properties used for business use. These include:

  • Office units
  • Shops and retail units
  • Licensed premises including pubs and clubs
  • Nurseries and care homes

Commercial conveyancing issues

Commercial conveyancing is the procedure by which interests in commercial property are transferred. Many of the issues in residential conveyancing are the same as those in commercial conveyancing. However, in commercial conveyancing there are additional considerations which must be considered.

The majority of commercial properties are bought leasehold and an annual rent is agreed. In some circumstances, particularly with office buildings, these can then be sublet to a third party for a fee. Because of the fact that these buildings are effectively open to the public, they must not contravene any local authority by-laws or planning laws.

They may be subject to any energy efficiency schemes the Government is presently involved in to reduce carbon emissions. Consideration even needs to be given as to whether you plan to play music in the property, and in most circumstances you will require a license to do so.

Furthermore, you may intend to change the nature or purpose of the property you have bought or let. For example, you may wish to buy an office space and then use it to run as a venue for the public to visit. A specialist can advise on:

  • What additional registrations need to be made
  • What licenses are needed to legally use the property space you have bought or let for its intended purpose

Leasehold agreements

Commercial conveyancing often involves leasehold agreements. It is often more appropriate for commercial enterprises to lease premises for their use rather than purchase them. Drafting commercial leases involves considering the needs and requirements of both parties.

There is a commercial conveyancing procedure which must be followed when a lease is being granted. This procedure is very similar to the freehold procedure. However, in the leasehold procedure a lot of consideration and time must be taken when drafting the lease. The lease is drafted by the landlord's representatives.

Commercial leases place specific obligations on both the landlord and the tenant. Standard clauses found in commercial leases include:

  • The term of the lease
  • The premium to be paid by the tenant
  • The amount of rent to be paid
  • Provisions on who pays for insurance

The lease will also stipulate whether the tenant is allowed to assignee (sub-let) the lease, either wholly or in part. It should also state whether the tenant is allowed to share the property with companies within the same group as them. It's complicated law, and a specialist solicitor is advised.

For more of your questions answered, see our FAQ page on commercial conveyancing.

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