Media Clinic: Leasing an office…What are the common pitfalls to avoid?

LAST week, the allmediascotland Media Clinic posed a question for Scotland’s media community to help answer.

One question was posed and one answer was received.

The question was: Leasing an office …What are the common pitfalls to avoid?

The answer offered – for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice – comes from Lionel Most, a member of the Law Society of Scotland’s Conveyancing Committee and property partner at commercial law firm, Burness LLP:

You should make sure the lease permits you to carry out every aspect of your business and that you receive a lease of all the physical areas necessary to run your business (such as parking, access for deliveries and cabling), and, in the process, check to see that the landlord owns them.

If the lease is for a short period you might want to restrict the repairing liability. Under a longer lease, a tenant would take a ‘full’ repairing responsibility, so make sure the premises are in reasonably good condition at the outset. It might be worthwhile engaging a surveyor. If the building is newly constructed, do not become responsible to repair the builder’s defects or poor construction.

Make sure there are suitable rights to transfer the lease or to sublet. If you need to share occupation with another company then obtain landlord’s clearance for that.

Make sure too there is a right to alter the property and put up tenant signage.

Discuss with the landlord what is going to be removed at the end of the lease (that internal office which was put in?) or left (the carpets?).

Be clear about the date of entry, the date of expiry, any break options and renewal rights.

If there is a rent review, ask your solicitor to check that the rent will not increase to an unusually high level.

It is not ‘normal’, as some landlords think, to pay the landlord’s costs, so do not pay these unless you have to.

Our next Media Clinic question: My sole employee has asked to take six months to look after her ill father. What are my legal obligations?

Want to suggest an answer? Send it to here, along with your name and job title. The Media Clinic will be appearing next on Tuesday, August 21.