Thursday, 19 August 2010

Am I missing something (leases and lawyers)

The office next door has come up for lease, and it would be a bit handy to have two connected units, so we are looking to lease it. Simples you might think. We were their neighbours for years before the moved the office so they know us. We have been in business for 12 years and have multi million pound a year accounts with our favourite telco on credit terms, what could go wrong?

But then the solicitors get involved, and it gets messy. And I have to wonder why...

After all, if someone comes to work for us they expect us to pay them money every month, yet they do not expect a guaranteed 3 year commitment, or to see audited accounts, or have a 3 month deposit, or have a director's personal guarantee or a charge on the company, yet they are probably risking their entire family income on us staying in business and paying them every month.

But when a business wants to lease a building, for a similar amount each month to the above scenario, even though that is a drop in the ocean and not their entire income, they expect you to go through hoops.

Why is this I wonder? Why can't life be simple.

Thankfully we don't need the same, so we are holding our ground and maybe it will all work out. Ho hum.

Followup: They have caved in - now to get the actual leased checked over properly.


  1. If you haven't already, involve a solicitor which experiences this on a daily basis, they will know the unwritten rules and what can be negotiated, otherwise you could end up paying and committing over the odds.

  2. I guess the difference is that there seems to be a lot of UK law that's on the side of the employee in an employee-employer relationship (and in particular the Insolvency Service as part of National Insurance means you still get some level of pay if the employer were to go bust), whereas in a B2B relationship that you have with leasing a unit it's essentially all down to the contract, and if you go bust then they become just another creditor...

  3. I wondered about that - but AFAIK - for quite a while after starting a new job you have very little protection.

  4. If somebody came to you with *exactly* the skills you wanted and you knew that they were one of a very small number of people in the country who could do what you needed, then they probably could demand the items you list.

    As it is, prospective employees are ten a penny and they know that if they ask to see your details, have the commitment or guarantees, they won't be getting the job.

    Not really an 'apples with apples' analogy.

  5. In Bracknell, offices are equally ten a penny!

    Anyway, good news, no deposits or the like - just off to talk to solicitor to confirm it is a normal "Screw us to hell" lease...