The Landlord’s Covenants in a Lease
The Landlord’s covenants in a lease
The landlord generally gives far fewer covenants than the tenant. The most common covenants are discussed below and on the next page.
This 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 a clause in the lease very clearly allows the landlord to act in this way.
If the premises form part of a building or estate the landlord may covenant to provide certain services, for which the tenant pays a service charge. The exact nature of the services provided will vary according to the nature of the building or estate. They could include repair, maintenance, provision of heating and lighting and provision of communal facilities such as toilets, kitchens and service areas.
There is often a “sweeper clause” in service charge provisions which allows the landlord to add further services if it is in the interests of good estate management to do so.
Limitation of landlord’s liability
Leases usually include a limitation clause stating that the landlord will not be liable for the non-provision of any of the services in circumstance that are beyond the landlord’s control. This would cover, for example, a failure to provide lighting during a power cut.
Ad hoc service charges
Sometimes a formal service charge regime is not necessary because the landlord only provides services on an ad hoc basis. An example would be where the premises form part of a shared building but have their own separate entrance and the tenant does not use any shared facilities.
The landlord may have little to do on a day to day basis but be responsible for carrying out repairs to the structure of the building as and when the need arises. In this situation, there is unlikely to be a regular “on account” service charge but the tenant will be invoiced from time to time when the landlord has carried out works.