Law guide: Property

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Commercial leases

Commercial leases

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Contents

Introduction

A commercial lease is essentially an agreement between a landlord and tenant that sets out the terms under which a tenant may occupy and use a commercial property. It also creates a legal right for the tenant to occupy the property.

The law governing commercial leases is substantially different in Scotland as compared with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For example, in England and Wales commercial leases for longer than seven years must be registered at HM Land Registry.

In Scotland, only commercial leases for longer than 20 years must be registered in the Land Register of Scotland. However, the lease is often registered in the Books of Council and Session in Edinburgh.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, commercial leases are governed by both case law and various Acts of Parliament. In particular the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954, or the Business Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 1996, gives the tenant a right to have the lease renewed at the end of its term.

There is no such corresponding right in Scottish law.

Commercial properties include offices, shops, warehouses, factories and other industrial units.