What can I do?
You can never start renewal renegotiations too soon. Leave it to the last minute and you’ll find a desperate person is in a poor bargaining position.
Your lease or the retail lease legislation may give you some options. Some legislation will require that the landlord gives you a preference to a new lease over a new tenant.
You must follow the procedures and timeframes carefully or you will lose rights given to you by your lease and retail lease legislation. Be aware that the landlord may also be required to follow specific procedures and timeframes under the relevant legislation.
If your lease contains an option to renew for a further term, you must follow the procedures and timeframes in the option clause very carefully or you will lose your option. If you have not complied with your lease obligations you may not be able to renew it. Check the wording of your option clause carefully. If you have any doubts, check with your solicitor.
Some tips for renegotiating a lease
Commit to developing a good working relationship with your landlord during the life of your lease. This can often be the key to securing a further lease with the landlord on favourable terms and conditions. Any reasonable landlord will be more willing to keep on a good tenant that pays the rent and other amounts due on time and is reasonable to deal with. This does not mean that you can’t make complaints to the landlord when things go wrong or when the landlord fails to do something that it is required to do under the lease.
Market knowledge is power. Remember to continue to undertake your market research during the life of
your lease. The more you know about the market, the more you are able to gauge the amount of bargaining power you have. See the table at page 7 for tips on undertaking market research.
When you have completed your market research, approach the landlord and express your interest in taking up a new lease. Both parties will want to agree the commercial details (such as term and rent) first.
If the landlord is willing to grant you a new lease, remember that it is just that – a new lease. You do not need to agree on the same terms and conditions that applied to the previous lease. This is your chance to fix any issues in the documents that you became aware of during the course of the original lease term.
A suggested approach to renegotiation is as follows:
- start with the commercial terms or ‘core lease details’ for your renegotiations – see the table at page 10 for tips on what these are
- after the ‘core lease details’ are agreed, then move on to the other lease terms and conditions – see the table on page 13 for more details on these. A good approach might be to start with your current terms and conditions in the current lease and then consider the things that you might like to change based on your experience with the document over the previous term. What did or didn’t work for you? Has your business changed and does this require a change to the document?
- What are the current terms being negotiated for other shops in the area where you want to be located?
You have no automatic right of renewal unless your lease or legislation gives it to you.