Commercial Property

Practice Area Specialist:

Karl Reynolds

Karl is a partner of the firm and deals with all areas of commercial and residential development and investment. His experience includes smaller investments for clients building residential portfolios through to being a lead partner on larger commercial schemes.

Whilst commercial property can be a major business asset, it can all too often become difficult and expensive to manage.

Commercial property laws can be complex and whether you are dealing with a single property or managing a large property portfolio, there are a number of legal liabilities you face.

Stillwells can help Commercial Property owners navigate these laws and avoid potential disputes when acquiring or disposing of their property.

Boasting excellent knowledge of local market conditions, a strong network of professional contacts and commercial astuteness, Stillwells is on hand to help you achieve the best solution for your business.

Contact us today on 02380 727177 for a no obligation discussion.

Practice Area Specialist:

Hanah Wright

Hanah has a strong background in property work and has a particular interest in commercial freehold and leasehold premises, sales of development land, business transfers for medical partnerships and surgery relocations, whilst also carrying out residential property work and domestic conveyancing. Hanah also has several years experience in private client work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a residential conveyancing solicitor help me with my commercial property transaction?

Answer: In many respects residential and commercial property transactions are very similar in that the procedure is the same. There are however a number of key differences:

  • Different enquiries are raised on commercial and residential transactions
  • There are certain legal requirements which apply to commercial and not residential and vice versa. For example, most commercial properties are legally required to maintain an asbestos register and if it is not provided on completion, the cost of a new register will fall on the Buyer.
  • The law relating to letting a commercial property and a residential property is completely different and imposes different obligations
  • Where a new build is concerned a commercial property will generally use a system of appointments and warranties whereas a residential property will rely on guarantee.
  • Commercial properties are sometimes subject to VAT but residential property is not.

In short there are many differences. Some property solicitors will cover both and some will specialise in one or the other. As with any transaction, it is important when choosing a solicitor that they have experience in the relevant field.

Is VAT payable on the purchase of a property?

Residential property is never subject to VAT. Commercial property may be subject to VAT if it is either newly constructed or if it has been elected to charge VAT by the Seller or a previous owner. Your solicitor should establish which applies at an early stage, and if VAT is applicable you will need to reclaim in the usual way (provided you are VAT registered). If VAT applies then it will be added to the purchase price and any rent charged. You should remember that when paying Stamp Duty Land Tax on a purchase of a commercial property, where VAT is charged, the Stamp Duty Land Tax is payable on both the purchase price and the VAT. This can be expensive, particularly if the VAT pushes the price into the next tax band.

What is a Section 106 Agreement?

Section 106 (S106) Agreements are legal agreements between Local Authorities and land owners and are linked to planning permissions. They are also known as Planning Obligations, and secure the land owners obligations to do certain things or pay amounts of money in exchange for the grant of a planning permission. The S106 Agreement will vary depending on the nature of the development and based on the needs of the particular area. The most common obligations include:-

  • Public Open Space
  • Affordable Housing
  • Education
  • Highways
  • Town centre Improvements
What is an Overage?

When land or building are sold, the Seller may sometimes insist on an Overage clause. The effect of this clause is that at some time in the future, a further payment may be due, on the happening of a defined trigger event. The classic example of this is that a farmer sells a piece of land at the current market value but adds and Overage so that if in the next 20 years planning is granted to develop the land, therefore substantially increasing the value, a further payment will become due. It is important to give a lot of thought to how the Overage is protected on the title, so that future owners cannot avoid it.

How are repairs dealt with in a lease of commercial property?

Liability for repairs depends on the original wording of the lease. Phrases such as “keep the premises in repair” mean the premises must be first put into repair (taking into account the age, character and locality of the premises) and then kept in repair. This could involve the Tenant in repairing damage which occurred prior to the start of the lease. A Tenant wishing to avoid this should seek legal advice to reduce that liability as much as possible.