It's that simple.
Whether you are an independent trader looking to open your first shop, or an established national chain with plans to create more stores, you will need support from property lawyers who understand how the retail sector works and who can help you to secure the premises that you want, on time, within budget, and on commercially acceptable terms.
Our property team have in-depth knowledge of the retail arena and an appreciation of the need to get deals done quickly so you can get you on with your fitout and begin to trade. However, we also understand the need to ensure that your occupancy arrangements meet your requirements and that they give you the flexibility to adapt should economic or market conditions change.
We have experience in advising retail businesses of a variety of types, including those who trade in fashion, food, furniture, beauty, and technology, and in dealing with retail premises on the high street, in shopping centres, out-of-town retail parks and within concession spaces in existing stores. We also regularly handle short-term lets for seasonal shops and pop-up outlets.
We can assist with:
- retail property purchases;
- retail leases and licenses;
- planning and development matters;
- banking and finance arrangements; and
- ongoing landlord and tenant
Our aim when working with retail clients is to ensure that the premises you have selected are suitable for your needs. This means checking that retail use is allowed, that internal and external changes can be made to meet your requirements, that the location works from a footfall perspective and, in the context of a unit in a shopping centre or retail park, that if possible, a guarantee is secured that you will not be located next to a direct competitor.
In addition to this, we want to ensure that you are fully appraised about the condition of the premises and any works that will be required to bring them up to the required standard.
Where you plan to buy a property from which to trade, then as well as taking care of the legal steps needed to transfer ownership of the property into your name, ensuring it is fit for purpose and that all lender requirements can be met, we will also check that there are no restrictions or covenants in place which could hamper your plans or making running your business difficult.
Our experience with retail purchases extends to dealing with properties that will be used solely for retail purposes, as well as mixed use developments or shops below living accommodation.
Where your plan is to commission the construction of a new-build unit, then our property buying service can be extended to include supporting you through the planning permission, site assembly and development stage.
Where the plan is to rent premises, we can support you through the lease negotiation process to ensure that the deal you strike is fair and affordable, that it gives you as much freedom and flexibility as possible, and that it does not saddle you with excessive obligations and liabilities.
Depending on the strength of your bargaining position, we will also push for a generous rent-free period to cover fitout, along with any other concessions we can obtain.
When dealing with a retail lease, our advice will be geared specifically towards ensuring that:
- rent payments are set at an appropriate rate and reviewed in line with accepted practice;
- service charge costs are clearly defined and wherever possible capped;
- repair and maintenance obligations are reasonable by reference to the property’s condition;
- there is no ban on making alterations where a change in layout might be required;
- subletting, lease assignment and change of use are permissible with landlord consent;
- you have the ability to bring the lease to an early end (via a break clause) if needed;
- you have the option to renew the lease if this is something you might want to do; and
- any personal guarantees you are required to give are necessary and proportionate.
Where you will have the right to use parking spaces or a storage area as part of the agreement, we can also take care of any necessary licences that need to be put in place.
Where you need planning permission to be able to make changes to the premises, for example to facilitate the erection of a new frontage or the installation of a branded sign, then we can help you to make the required applications and to overcome any difficulties or challenges you may face.
Landlord and tenant matters
Where you occupy under the terms of a lease, you may find yourself in need of legal advice on an ad hoc basis should issues arise with your landlord that you are unable to resolve yourself. We can help to support you in making tenant applications, for example to vary your lease so you can take on extra space or obtain the permissions needed to enable you to diversify. We can also help you to resolve property-related disputes, including over service charge costs, drawdown rights on a rent deposit, rent payment obligations and terminal dilapidations claims.
Why choose Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors?
Our property lawyers are experts at what they do and have the skills and experience needed to get your deal over the line quickly and in a way that dovetails with your plans and protects your interests. Our advice is comprehensive and tailored to your needs, takes account of input from your surveyor and accountant, and is designed to ensure that where a potential problem or difficulty is encountered it can be overcome in a commercially sensible and practical way.
What our clients say:
“You made what could have been a complicated and daunting process for us, very smooth and stress free.”
KDK Archaeology Ltd
For more information about how we can help, you can read testimonials from our commercial property clients
The Legal 500: “Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP’s commercial property team is well versed in the areas of construction, property investments, planning and property disputes. Its clients include housing associations and occupiers (landlords and tenants). The practice is headed up by Darren Millis and Richard Willis.”
The Commercial Property Team
Richard Willis Consultant Solicitor
Commercial Property 01908 689315Richard specialises in Property Law, representing clients from small family businesses to large PLC’s’ He also acts for local Councils, Parish Councils, landowners, investors, developers, lenders, Housing Associations and Charities.
David Barton Consultant
Commercial Property 01908 689395David Barton joined Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors in 2014 along with his planning and property development team from Williams & Company in Ampthill. David is widely known for his expertise in helping farmers, landowners and property developers grow houses on their land. David now assists the team as a Consultant.
Georgina Page Chartered Legal Executive
Commercial Property 01908 689361Georgina joined Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors in October 2014 from Williams & Company in Ampthill. Georgina completed the Legal Practice Course at Sheffield University after graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with a 2:1 in Law (LLB) and qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 2020.