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Lease Overview: Legislation

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Part 11 – Legislation

There is in existence at the present time much legislation that applies to the use and occupation of commercial buildings, of whatever nature.  Undoubtedly, new legislation will be enacted in the future as well.  Where a tenant leases a property, the question arises as to who is responsible for complying with this legislation.  

Ultimately, it will be a question for negotiation between the parties but landlords will seek to place an absolute obligation on the tenant to comply with all legislation, of whatever nature, that may arise in relation to the property or its use.  Agreeing responsibility based on existing legislation is often straightforward as the liability is generally known and can be assessed.  Anticipating future legislation is more difficult; for example a lot of tenants were caught by the obligation to carry out works when the Disability Discrimination legislation came into force some years ago. 

Another example of applicable legislation is the Asbestos Regulations which require a ‘suitable and sufficient’ assessment to be carried out to ascertain if there are any ‘asbestos containing materials’ in any non-domestic premises.  Often nothing has to be done if such materials are found but there can be a significant price tag attached.  A landlord should have such an assessment already, perhaps carried out by a previous tenant, so a tenant should ask for sight of this. 

In this series of articles, we are aiming to give you a brief overview of the principal areas covered by a commercial lease.  These articles are for guidance only and do not represent legal advice.  If you need advice or assistance on leases or any other property concern, please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Rannie, Head of the Property Department for a free initial consultation.