Common Questions about Leases and Tenancies

What is a lease?

A lease, which is also known as a tenancy, is a document that outlines the terms under which a property is let and which is the nucleus of the legal relationship between the landlord and tenant

Variation of a Lease

What is a variation of lease?

A variation of lease is where the landlord and tenant change the terms of the lease by performing certain formalities.

Why does a landlord or tenant need to vary the terms of the lease?

Reasons include correcting an error in the original lease or altering lease terms that prohibit or restrict certian actions by the landlord or tenant.

Licence to Assign, Sublet, Alter or Change Use

What is a licence to assign, sublet, alter or change use?

A licence is permission from the landlord to transfer or assign the lease (licence to assign), underlet or sublet (licence to underlet or sublet), alter the property (licence to alter) or change use of the property (licence to change use).

Does a tenant need to obtain a licence to assign, sublet, alter or change use from the landlord?

It would depends on lease terms. We advise our clients if any relevant licence needs to be obtained.

Why are permissions granted under the lease, such as licences to assign, sublet, alter or change use, important for the landlord?

It allows the landlord to properly control the persons occupying the property, the alteration made to the property (including ensuring that each tenant obtains proper planning permission) and the use of the property is properly controlled. In other word it allows the landlord to preseve the financial value of the reversionary interest in the property.

Why should a tenant obtain a licence to assign, sublet, alter, change use if required by their lease?

To ensure that the tenant does not breach the lease, and potentially render the lease liable to forfeiture or termination.

Commercial Lease or Business Lease

What is a commercial lease or business lease?

A commercial lease or business lease is a lease where a lease is granted for use and occupation of the property for business or commercial purposes.

What is the difference between commercial lease or business lease and a residential lease or tenancy?

The law is different, which gives differing legal rights and protections to both landlords and tenants.

Grant of New Lease

Why are the lease terms important?

Both the landlord and the tenant usually seek to secure terms favouring the respective parties, which would ultimately translate to both short terms and long term financial benefit in most instances.

How can one, as a landlord or a tenant, get favourable lease terms?

It is best to approach us as early as possible. We discuss with our clients their short term and long terms goal and strategies, evaluate their goals with the bargain and realties of the situation and present them with options, which puts our clients who approach us early in a position to further any benefit they aquire from their lease and to avoid common pitfalls.


What is a surrender?

Surrender is termination of the lease by agreement.

What is one of the main concerns of the landlord or tenant on surrender?

The key issue is continuing liability for matters that occured during the lease period. Our clients are given the benefit of early advise and discussion of how they wish to resolve any concern or outstanding matter, so that there are no issues post-surrender of lease.

Headlease, Underlease or Sublease

What is an underlease or sublease?

An underlease or sublease is a lease where the landlord are themselves a leasehold owner. There may be many layers of underleases or subleases.

What is a headlease?

The headlease is a lease granted from the freehold owner of a property.

What is the difference in lease terms between a underlease or sublease and a headlease?

Usually one is limited to the scope of terms that can be negotiated in a underlease or sublease compared to a headlease, due to limitations on the terms of the underlease or sublease prescribed by the headlease. We present our client with various options including discussing the scope of negotiations, alteratives or mitigation strategies in order to achieve their intended goals.

Transfer or Assignment of Lease

What is an transfer or assignment of lease?

A transfer or assignment of lease is the transfer of the person nominated as the tenant under the lease.

Is it possible for me to change the terms of the lease on transfer or assignment?

Yes, subject to agreement. You need to inform us as soon as possible, so that arrangements and legal positions can be outlined at an early stage of the transaction.

The matters expressed in this article should not be taken as legal advice, and are subject to our retainer where you retain us to work for you. We recommend that you always seek professional legal advice for your particular circumstances from a solicitor or other regulated legal professional.