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The solicitor who was appointed to me was outstanding
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After struggling to find a solicitor willing to give us advice, and for a reasonable cost, we were so pleased to find the Lawhive website. At first we wondered how well it would work, but needn't have worried at all - the whole process was simple, straightforward and professional and great value for money. We felt extremely lucky to be matched with our solicitor, Sonay Erten, as she was exactly what we were looking for - knowledgeable, patient and kind - a refreshing change from solicitors we have used in the past. She showed a great deal of empathy for our situation and explained things in language that was easy to understand (rather than the usual "solicitor" talk, which can be intimidating). She's a shining example of what a solicitor should aspire to be and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to others or use her again in the future. We came out of our session reassured and confident of what we needed to do going forward, so a big "thank you!"
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Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
I found the website very easy to use. Quick responses and I was even able to talk to someone who was friendly and competent. She rang me rather than emailed me. A solicitor was quickly found who could help me and once the relevant identification was approved he started work. Within two days the solicitor had checked documents and commented on them. Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
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About

A lease transfer is when one tenant passes their lease to another. This typically happens when the original tenant moves out and a new tenant takes over. Solicitors can make sure the process goes smoothly and that both parties are protected.Next steps

How much does help with Lease Transfer cost?

The cost for a licensed solicitor to help with Lease Transfer is dependent on many factors including the complexity and specific requirements of the case. On average it is expected to range from £250-£300 but in some cases it could cost as much as £500.

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Commercial Lease Transfer Solicitors

If you're in a situation where you want to avoid breaking your lease but need to move for your or your business's benefit, a lease transfer might be a good option.

At Lawhive, our expert network of commercial lease transfer solicitors is on hand to assist both commercial landlords and tenants. Get in touch today for a free case evaluation and no-obligation quote.

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In this article, we will cover the aspects of a lease transfer and some guidance in how and why a lease transfer could benefit you.

What is a lease transfer?

A lease transfer means handing over your lease to someone else, who then takes on all the rights and duties associated with it. Usually, you need the landlord's permission to do this and you may have to pay a fee. It's important for everyone—the current tenant, the new one, and the landlord—to read the lease carefully and follow the rules.

Can I transfer a lease to someone else?

Some leases allow lease transfers, while others don't. To see if you can transfer your lease, look for an assignment clause in your agreement. This explains how you can transfer the lease, usually needing the landlord's approval. They might say no or set conditions. Sometimes, you'll need a "licence to assign" from the landlord, which is formal permission. They might charge a fee for this, but it's usually in the lease. Landlords might also want to check the new tenant's finances before agreeing.

How to transfer a lease

Transferring a lease involves a process where the current tenant (assignor), the new tenant (assignee), and the landlord all need to work together.

To transfer a lease you should:

1. Review the lease agreement:

Carefully review the terms of your lease agreement. Look for any clauses related to the assignment of the lease. Most leases include provisions specifying the conditions and requirements for transferring the lease.

Check your lease to see if you need the landlord's permission to transfer it. Many leases have a clause saying you must get their approval before passing the lease to someone else.

3. Prepare your proposal

If your lease permits assignment and needs the landlord's approval, create a formal proposal explaining the transfer details. Provide details about the person taking over the lease, their financial situation, and any other important information.

4. Submit your proposal to your landlord

Send your proposal to the landlord. This might mean sending a written request for permission to transfer the lease, along with any necessary documents.

Wait for the landlord's reply. If they agree to the transfer, they might give you a formal consent document. This could include conditions or things you and the new tenant need to do.

6. Prepare an assignment agreement

Once you have the landlord's approval, create an assignment agreement between you (the assignor) and the new tenant (assignee). This agreement should detail the terms of the lease transfer, including any responsibilities the assignor will still have. After the landlord approves the agreement, both you and the new tenant might need to sign it in front of a witness.

7. Provide formal notice to the Land Registry

If the lease is registered with the Land Registry, you may need to provide formal notice of the assignment. This helps update the records to reflect the change in tenancy.

8. Complete the financial transaction

Meet any financial responsibilities linked to the transfer, like paying fees to the landlord for their approval. Even after the transfer, the original tenant might still be responsible for rent or other duties from the original lease. Make sure these are clearly stated in the assignment agreement.

What checks will be made to allow a lease transfer?

When transferring a lease, landlords typically conduct checks to ensure the proposed new tenant (assignee) is suitable and capable of meeting the lease obligations. They want to make sure the property will be well taken care of and financially secure. For this, landlords often review financial records, credit reports, or other proof of the new tenant's ability to pay rent and other costs. If it's a commercial lease, they might ask for business references to understand the tenant's business history, operations, and financial health. Landlords also have obligations in a commercial lease that they must fulfill. They might check if the tenant complies with legal rules and if their business activities match what's allowed in the lease. Sometimes, they'll ask for character references or testimonials to see if the tenant is reliable and has a good reputation. If the proposed tenant has rented properties before, the landlord might contact previous landlords to ask how they performed in those leases. Landlords also want to know what the new tenant plans to do with the property to make sure it aligns with the lease terms. They might ask for documents like business plans or financial forecasts to understand the tenant's plans. Some leases need the tenant to get a "licence to assign" from the landlord. This is a formal permission for the lease transfer and might have specific conditions.

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Benefits of transferring a lease

Transferring a lease can offer several benefits to both the current tenant (assignor) and the proposed new tenant (assignee). 

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Some of the potential advantages are

Flexibility for the current tenant

Being able to transfer the lease before it ends gives the current tenant flexibility. This is great if their business situation changes or if they want to move or try something new.

Avoiding break costs

Transferring a lease can help the current tenant avoid costs linked to ending the lease early. It allows for a smoother transition without facing penalties.

Cost savings for the new tenant

The new tenant could save money by taking over an existing lease, avoiding the costs of finding and new space. This includes things like legal fees, agent fees, and possible rent incentives.

Securing an established location

For the new tenant, getting an existing lease means getting a location that's already up and running.

This is a big advantage for businesses wanting to set up or grow quickly, without the delays of finding and fitting out new space.

Time efficiency

Transferring a lease is usually quicker than negotiating and signing a new lease. This is important for businesses that need to move fast or seize timely opportunities.

Preserving lease terms

The new tenant might benefit from keeping the current lease terms, like the rent and how long the lease lasts, along with other good conditions.

This stability can help with financial planning and keeping the business going smoothly.

Disadvantages of transferring a lease

Getting the landlord's approval for the lease transfer can be tough. If they say no or set strict rules, it might make the transfer hard or impossible. Sometimes, the original tenant might still be responsible for the lease under an authorised guarantee agreement, even after transferring it. If the new tenant doesn't pay or breaks the lease, the original tenant might still have to pay. Landlords might charge fees for approving the transfer, adding to the overall cost. The lease might have restrictions or conditions that weren't clear at first. These could limit the original tenant's flexibility or bring unexpected duties. Remember, changes in the economy or market could make the property less desirable. If things get worse, the new tenant might struggle to keep the business going or afford the rent. For businesses in the property, transferring the lease could disrupt things for customers, clients, and staff. Making sure the transition goes smoothly is important to avoid interruptions.

What restrictions can be imposed on a lease transfer?

Leases often list what you can use the property for and might restrict how it's used. The landlord might want the new tenant to use the space for the same kind of business as before, to keep things consistent. Certain activities that might bother others aren't allowed, and tenants have to follow any rules from planning regulations. The lease might say the tenant can't transfer the lease to lots of different people one after the other. This helps keep control over who's in the property. Even after transferring the lease, the original tenant might still have duties. They might have to make sure the new tenant does what they're supposed to, pay any late rent, or fix lease breaches.

Do I need a solicitor to transfer a lease?

No, you don't have to have a solicitor to transfer a lease, but it's a good idea to involve one. Transferring a lease can be legally complicated, and a commercial property solicitor can make sure everything goes smoothly and follows the law.

What is the difference between lease transfer and assignment of a lease?

The terms lease transfer and assignment of a lease are often used interchangeably, but they can have slightly different meanings. 

Lease Transfer

Lease transfer usually means moving a lease from one person to another. Ways to do this can include subleasing (where the original tenant is still responsible to the landlord) or giving up the lease and starting a new one.

Assignment of a Lease

Assigning a lease is a particular way to transfer it. It means giving the whole lease to a new person. In this, the original tenant (assignor) stays in the lease but passes their rights and duties to the new person (assignee). The landlord usually has to agree to this.

Key Features of Assignment:

  • The current tenant retains some liability for the lease obligations.

  • The assignee becomes the new tenant and assumes the responsibilities outlined in the lease.

Alternatives to a lease transfer

When considering alternatives to a lease transfer, several options may be available depending on the circumstances and the terms of the existing lease agreement. 

Some alternatives include:

Sublease

Rather than giving the whole lease to someone else, the tenant might sublease the property to someone else. In a sublease, the original tenant (sublessor) is still responsible to the landlord, but the new person (sublessee) uses the space and pays rent to the original tenant.

Surrender and Re-grant

The tenant and landlord might decide to end the current lease in a process called surrender, then start a new one (re-grant). This lets them renegotiate terms, change rent, or make other adjustments.

Negotiating amendments

The tenant and landlord could talk about changing the current lease to fit new situations. They might change lease terms, rent, or other parts to make both sides happy.

Expansion or contraction within premises

Rather than transferring the lease, the tenant and landlord could discuss making the leased space bigger or smaller to fit what the tenant needs now.

Early Termination Agreement

The tenant and landlord may agree to an early termination of the lease, subject to mutually agreed-upon conditions and possibly payment of a termination fee.

Lease Extension or Renewal

Instead of transferring the lease, the tenant could talk to the landlord about extending or renewing it. This keeps things going while adapting to any changes in the business.

Licence Agreement

In certain situations, a landlord might grant a licence to a third party to use the premises without a formal lease transfer. A licence is typically more limited than a lease and doesn't convey the same bundle of rights.

Temporary Arrangements

If the tenant has short-term needs, temporary arrangements, such as a licence or short-term lease, might be considered instead of a permanent lease transfer.

Joint Ventures or Partnerships

Businesses might explore joint ventures or partnerships that involve sharing premises without formally transferring the lease. This could be beneficial for collaborative ventures.

Amicable Termination

If both parties agree, an amicable termination of the lease may be an option. This involves reaching a mutual understanding to terminate the lease without adversarial negotiations.

The appropriateness of these alternatives depends on the specific circumstances, the willingness of both parties to negotiate, and the terms outlined in the existing lease agreement.

Get help with transferring a lease from the UK’s best property solicitors.

Considering how to get out of a lease and need legal guidance? Here at Lawhive, our expert property solicitors are on hand to provide you with a free case assessment.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can support you.

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