Do small business tenants need protecting in commercial lease negotiations?
Crosby, N., Hughes, C. and Murdoch, S. (2005) Do small business tenants need protecting in commercial lease negotiations? Working Papers in Real Estate & Planning. 22/05. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp21.
This paper sets out the findings relating to small business tenants of a major UK Government funded study into the commercial and industrial property landlord and tenant relationship. The UK Government is concerned that small business tenants do not appreciate many of the implications of signing leases, which in the UK are generally longer than in most other countries of the world. The objectives of the paper are to identify the characteristics of leases in the UK and any differences between those signed by small, medium and larger companies. It also examines the negotiation process and identifies whether small business tenant negotiations exhibit different characteristics. The findings are that small business tenants occupy on different terms to larger tenants including shorter terms and that the negotiation process is also different. Many small business tenants are unrepresented at the commercial stage of negotiations and take the first terms on offer. They are largely unaware of attempts to make them more informed by voluntary industry Codes of Practice. This can lead to small business tenants being unaware of the implications of certain terms within leases, hence the continuing Government concern over the issue.
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