Alterations to your property – what to do when you leave

10/11/2016

How far can a commercial tenant alter a property? That depends on if it is classed as a fixture or a chattel? A recent case has highlighted the need to ensure a distinction between alterations which are tenant’s fixtures and alterations which are tenant’s chattels.

The case involved partitioning which was installed by the tenant during initial fit out works in accordance with a licence to alter. Both the lease and the licence to alter required the Landlord to give notice of any reinstatement the Landlord reasonably required before the end of the term. The tenant exercised a break option with 2 pre-conditions: 6 months’ prior written notice and vacant possession.

The Landlord did not serve a notice of his requirement to reinstate the premises. The case turned upon whether the partitioning alteration was a fixture and therefore formed part of the premises.

The partitioning was not carried out in accordance with the specification attached to the licence to alter and therefore the partitioning was in breach of the licence. The validity of the licence was conditional upon compliance with the condition on which the licence was given. As the conditions were not met, the partitioning became unauthorised works and therefore should have been removed automatically by the tenant. This meant that even if the partitioning was not a tenant chattel, the tenant should have removed it and failure to do so meant vacant possession had not been given.

Based upon expert evidence it was found that the partitioning was demountable and therefore the tenant did not in fact give vacant possession.

On sending or receiving a break notice, parties to the lease should review the lease and all supplemental documents (including licences to alter) carefully.

More information

Contact our Commercial Property Department for further information on our services. Contact 01708 229444 or mail@pinneytalfourd.co.uk to speak to a member of the team at any of our offices in Brentwood, Hornchurch and Upminster. We are also able to see clients in Leigh on Sea.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at November 2016.

10/11/2016

Popular Insights

Footer bg

Would you like to know more?

For help and advice, talk to a member of our team. They can advise on the best options in your matter.

Call: 01708 229 444 Email us

Portfolio Builder

Select the legal services that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

Download    Add to portfolio   
Portfolio
Title Type CV Email

Remove All

Download


Click here to share this shortlist.
(It will expire after 30 days.)