What are the legal issues for retail landlords and tenants over the Christmas period?
18 November 2019
Written by Ware & Kay Solicitors Category:
For most retailers, Christmas is the busiest trading period of the year and with the challenges facing the High Street many will be taking every opportunity to maximise their revenue. However, it is important that tenants and landlords consider their lease and other obligations when planning their Christmas trading activities:
- Pop-up shops: it is now common for landlords to fill empty space with ‘pop-up shops’ or bars and restaurants. It is important that they check whether planning permission is required and to ensure that the arrangement is properly documented. Although granting a licence to occupy may be convenient, a short term lease which is contracted out of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954, possibly with an option to break, is a safer route. The building insurance policy should also be checked.
- Use: Leases of commercial property usually include restrictions on the purposes for which the tenant can use the property. If you are planning a Christmas initiative that is different from your normal permitted use or the installation of new equipment to meet Christmas demand, then landlord’s consent or approval may be required. There may also be a ‘keep open’ clause which prescribes when the unit must be open and trading.
- Signs: The Lease may include a clause that gives the landlord control over a tenant’s signage. If the tenant wishes to put up additional or special signage (or Christmas decoration) over the Christmas period then landlord's or planning and other consents may be required.
- Security and adverse weather: security is an important consideration over the holiday period as is the possibility of building damage. A premises health check may be sensible, particularly if bad weather is forecast or premises are going to be shut.
If further advice is required, contact Johanne Spittle on 01904 716018. Johanne Spittle is the Head of Litigation at Ware & Kay and specialises in commercial property disputes.