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Landlord and Tenant

Entering into a lease is often the first step of renting. But what happens when the tenant wants to:

a)     Carry out work at and alter the property?

b)     Assign the benefit of the lease to a third party (share occupation or sell the business)? Or

c)      Vary the lease?


Making changes every once in a while, is good. But making changes in accordance with the terms of the lease is even better.

Lease covenants

The extent to which alterations can be made is governed by the lease:

1.      Absolute covenants prohibit any alterations to the property in its entirety.

2.      Qualified covenants allow alterations to be carried out, subject to the landlord’s consent.

3.      Fully qualified covenants are similar to qualified covenants, except the landlord’s consent cannot be unreasonably withheld.

So what are the key considerations?

These are dependent upon the nature of the work to be done, but in the majority of cases, specific legal documents such as a Licence for Alterations will be required.

This sets out the specific changes the tenant is authorised to make under the lease and when, and benefits both parties because there is a clear record of any changes made and it reduces the possibility of any later disputes.

Ensuring compliance with planning laws and regulations is also vital prior to altering the property.


Assigning a lease to a third party effectively means transferring a legal title to them.

How do you assign?

Assignment provisions are contained within a lease and usually, a Licence to Assign is drafted by solicitors, which confirms the landlord gives consent to the transfer of the leasehold title.

As with the majority of legal documents, there may be conditions attached, such as an obligation on the tenant to pay the landlord’s legal costs.

It is also worth carrying out the relevant searches expected in the sale/purchase of freehold land.

Deeds of Variation

Throughout the continuance of the lease, it may become apparent to either party that some of the terms should be changed without entering into an entirely new lease.

This may concern payment terms, duration of the lease or the obligations of both parties. Regardless of this, care needs to be taken as certain types of variation can have the effect of terminating the lease and leading to the grant of a new lease, which is unlikely to be what the parties intend.

Why Barton Legal?

Working collaboratively, we can provide the dynamic advice and guidance needed to swiftly steer through this process, with clear explanations in simple language.

Not only this, but we will ensure that all aspects are covered in drafting the licences and/or deeds of variation, and that the end result provides what you had in mind at the outset.