The lease between a landlord and a leaseholder (i.e. a tenant) will contain a number of covenants relating to the leaseholder’s use and occupation of the land. If these leasehold covenants are breached, the landlord may be able to take action to protect their interests.

The terms of the lease will set out how enforcement is handled. These provisions may be difficult to interpret, which might also lead to disputes.

Luscombe Gray can advise you on the lease terms and help to resolve landlord/tenant disputes over the covenants in the lease.

Whether you are a landlord looking to enforce your leasehold covenants, or a leaseholder seeking legal advice, we can help with your situation. We recognise how important enforcing your rights over your commercial property can be to your business interests. We will work ethically and tenaciously towards achieving the best possible outcome for your business.

If you would like to discuss how Luscombe Gray can help your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Lease covenants

A lease may contain both restrictive and positive covenants.

Restrictive covenants seek to prevent certain conduct or uses, much in the same way as restrictive covenants attached to real property. For example, stopping the construction of additional buildings on the land.

Positive covenants require certain action from the party in question, such as requiring a leaseholder to maintain and keep the property in a certain condition.

A lease will also contain covenants which the landlord must comply with, and are therefore enforceable by the leaseholder.

Breaching lease covenants

If a leaseholder has breached a lease covenant, the terms of the lease will often specify the available remedies. Even if a remedy is not specified, the breach may be sufficient to justify action such as forfeiture of the lease or injunction proceedings.

It is important to be aware that, when sub-letting leasehold property, the leaseholder will still be responsible for compliance with the lease covenants in most situations. Therefore, if a sub-tenant breaches a lease covenant, the leaseholder is likely to be the subject of any enforcement action taken by a superior landlord.

Where a landlord is in breach of a covenant which the leaseholder may enforce, the leaseholder may have reasonable grounds to withhold payment of any service charge payable.

Situations may also arise where a leaseholder wishes to enforce a lease covenant against another leaseholder. The terms of the lease may not allow them to do so directly, meaning they have to ask the landlord to take action on their behalf. This will usually involve the leaseholder agreeing to indemnify the landlord for any costs incurred in taking this action.

In any of these situations, it is vital that you seek legal advice from a solicitor specialising in commercial property litigation before acting. There are many legal pitfalls and complications relating to the enforcement of leasehold covenants and, without expert guidance, even apparently straightforward issues can escalate into serious legal problems.

Instructing Luscombe Gray

Luscombe Gray is a boutique commercial property litigation firm, providing a legal service tailored to the needs of our clients.

We believe first-class commercial legal support should be available to all organisations. Whatever the size of your business, we are more than willing to provide our services and put our specialist skill and knowledge at your disposal.

Your case will be handled by Chris Luscombe personally, so you can be certain that your business will be able to call upon the expertise of an experienced commercial property litigation solicitor. Throughout his career, Chris has helped a wide range of businesses with their commercial property disputes, from small businesses, to national pub companies, to multi-national telecoms giants.

Luscombe Gray is based in the heart of Yorkshire, in Harrogate, with the reach to assist clients across the country.

If your business needs legal support in a dispute over the enforcement of leasehold covenants, contact Luscombe Gray for clear, ethical, expert advice.

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