What is a lease?

Our property team take a look at leases and answers some commonly asked questions.

What is a lease?

A lease is a legally binding contract between a landlord, who owns the freehold of a property, and a tenant. The tenant should have ‘exclusive possession’ of the property which is the subject of the lease and the lease will be for a ‘certain term’, for example a lease for 6 months or for 999 years.

What is a fixed term lease?

Most leases are for a fixed term, usually ranging from 3 years to 999 years. The lease will finish at the end of the fixed term.

What is a periodical tenancy?

A periodical tenancy is an tenancy agreement between a landlord and a tenant for a period of time, for example, a week, a month, six months, a year etc. The main characteristic of a periodical tenancy is that at the end of the given period the tenancy automatically renews itself until either the landlord or the tenant serves notice to end the tenancy.

Is a landlord obliged to keep a dwelling house fit for human habitation whilst let to a tenant?

Yes. Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 a dwelling house must be fit for human habitation throughout the tenancy. However, this is usually expressly provided for in the lease.

Is Rent an essential requirement of a lease?

No, but if a rent is charged it does suggest that a contractual arrangement exists between the parties.

Why would a lease include a rent review clause?

A landlord will not usually want the rent to remain the same throughout the term of the lease if it is for a long period. Landlords generally want to ensure that tenants are paying a going market rent. Rent reviews are particularly common in commercial leases.

When will a landlord be allowed to forfeit a lease?

Forfeiture normally arises for either non-payment of rent or breaches of covenants. However, the landlord can only forfeit a lease if there is a clause in the lease which allows him the right of re-entry if the tenant breaches a covenant. A residential lease will usually allow for the landlord to give notice to the tenant and his mortgage lender before he exercises his right of re-entry. A tenant can apply to the court for relief if the landlord is acting unfairly.

Can a landlord prevent a tenant from sub-letting the premises?

It depends on whether there is an absolute or qualified covenant not to assign or sub-let in the lease. The former means a landlord can prevent a tenant from sub-letting. The latter means that the assignment cannot take place without the consent of the landlord. In this instance a landlord is not entitled to withhold his consent unreasonable.
If you have any queries concerning leases or leasehold property please contact us on 0333 888 0404 or email us at [email protected]

Lee Dawkins

Lee Dawkins

Over the past 30 years Lee has overseen the expansion of the firm’s litigation department. He developed our personal injury and clinical negligence teams, creating various niche areas that now enjoy a national profile. He pioneered contentious probate, setting up one of the UK's leading inheritance dispute teams and established Slee Blackwell as a force within claimant professional negligence. He now works as the firm's marketing partner.
Lee Dawkins

Lee Dawkins

Over the past 30 years Lee has overseen the expansion of the firm’s litigation department. He developed our personal injury and clinical negligence teams, creating various niche areas that now enjoy a national profile. He pioneered contentious probate, setting up one of the UK's leading inheritance dispute teams and established Slee Blackwell as a force within claimant professional negligence. He now works as the firm's marketing partner.

Share this post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Share this post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Call the Slee Blackwell helpline on 0333 888 0404