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Jay Gorasia

Navigating yielding up provisions in commercial leases

26 March 2024

Commercial property leases are complex and intricate legal documents that regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants. Among the myriad of clauses within a lease, the “yielding up" provisions are one of the most critical and, if not properly drafted, can result in significant expense for the landlord or tenant when the lease ends.

The term "yielding up" refers to the tenant's obligation to return the property to the landlord in a specified condition at the end of the lease term, (whether this be by early termination or expiry of the term). This provision outlines the responsibilities of the tenant regarding the state of the premises, repair, removal and replacement of any fixtures, any obligation to reinstate following alterations made during the tenancy and the requirement for anyone in occupation to vacate the property. 

The primary aim for the landlord is to safeguard the value of their property to ensure that it is returned in good condition, free of any third-party occupiers and to enable the landlord to maintain or enhance any income or profit on future leases or potential sales. To achieve this, a strong yielding up clause should require that, at the very least, the tenant leaves the property in the condition that it was in at the beginning of the lease term and that no parties remain in occupation.
If the Landlord is not vigilant they can be left with a large expense, as well as periods where the property is unlettable or unsaleable, because of the extent of works that must be carried out to make good the tenant’s damage or neglect or remove works of the tenant to the property to reinstate its original condition before the lease commenced.   

The primary aim for the tenant, however, is to avoid picking up the cost of putting the property into a better state of repair and condition than it was in when the lease commenced and paying the bill to remedy any inherent defects arising from poor design, workmanship, or materials when the property was constructed which may have materialised during the lease term (should the property be new build or newly refurbished), as well as any one off, large items of expenditure for parts of the building that have deteriorated over time, such as roof repairs or replacement. 

Tenants may underestimate the cost and effort required to meet the "yielding up" obligations. Failure to plan for dilapidations, repairs, reinstatement costs or improvements required to restore the property to its original condition can result in a significant financial burden for tenants at the end of a lease term which in some cases can outweigh the rental costs under the lease.

Tenants often make alterations or improvements to the property during the lease term to suit their business needs. Failure to obtain landlord consent or document such changes can lead to disputes over what reinstatement is required and reinstatement costs. If a landlord agrees that reinstatement is not required, then this needs to be documented or the yielding up provisions will often require for the tenant to remove any tenant works carried out to the property and to ensure the property is then reinstated to its original state. 

It is imperative that legal advice is sought to minimise the likelihood of disputes. 

When landlords and tenants understand their responsibilities and document this clearly in the lease, then the potential for future legal involvement decreases, saving both parties time and money.

Tenants must navigate potential pitfalls by paying close attention to the wording, planning for dilapidations, and documenting alterations. Conversely, landlords benefit immensely from strong provisions that protect their property value, minimise disputes, and facilitate seamless transitions between tenants.

At Neves Solicitors, we have experienced solicitors at hand to assist both landlords and tenants alike in navigating through commercial leases. If you would like any assistance with your commercial property matters, please do not hesitate to contact us. Call 0330 0945 500, email or by complete our Contact Form and we'll get back to you.


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