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Exercise of Landlord’s rights over commercial property

Exercise of Rights by Landlords

Landlords have rights of entry, etc.

Most leases, including our template leases, contain standard reservations of rights to the landlord. These include the right to enter the premises for certain purposes (e.g. to inspect or carry out repairs) and may include more wide-ranging rights depending on the nature of the premises. More information about the rights reserved to landlords appears on the previous page.

Tenants will want to ensure that landlords do not have more rights than they need and do not exercise them in a way that causes undue interference to the tenant’s business. Landlords need to be careful to exercise their rights strictly in accordance with the lease.

How can tenants ensure that landlords’ rights are not excessive? 

The exercise of rights by the landlord is usually restricted, particularly if the tenant has negotiated amendments to the landlord’s standard form of lease. Tenants understandably do not want the landlord turning up unannounced demanding access to the premises. It is usual for a lease to state that a right of entry can be exercised on reasonable notice (or on a specified period of notice such as 48 hours) except in case of emergency when no notice is required.

If the tenant’s business involves keeping particularly sensitive or private documents on the premises, the tenant may require the landlord to be accompanied when exercising a right of entry and could seek to impose a requirement that the landlord does not enter certain areas.

Landlords must take care when exercising reserved rights 

The landlord must make sure when it exercises a right of entry that it observes the notice requirements and any other conditions in the lease. If its actions exceed what is permitted by the lease, the landlord could be in breach of the landlord’s covenant for “quiet enjoyment”.

A covenant for “quiet enjoyment” is a standard lease clause. It means that the landlord promises that no-one within the landlord’s control will interfere with the tenant’s right to possess and use the premises. The landlord will be at risk of breaching this covenant if, for example, he carries out work in the vicinity of the tenant’s premises which has the effect of restricting the tenant’s access to the premises, unless the lease very clearly allows the landlord to act in this way.

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