By David Farmer
Wilson Browne Solicitors
AS a landlord and the owner of commercial property you may have different emotions when a lease comes to an end and you finally have possession back of the premises.
It may be the lease has run its course and has come to an end because it has expired or it could be that you have to forfeit the lease because the tenant has fallen behind with the rent.
Prevention is better than cure
If you have a good relationship with your tenant and the lease is coming to an end because it is due to expire then it is worth arranging a site visit to talk to the tenant about removing items from the premises.
Bailment is one of the oldest legal relationships that exists. If after the lease has come to an end there are goods left at the property then you will become an 'involuntary bailee'. This means that you have a duty placed on you to do what is right and reasonable with the goods. This means that you cannot dispose of the goods without making enquires or you could face a claim against you for damages. If you sell them then you must get best value for the goods.
What's in the lease?
It is always worth checking the lease. It will very often have clauses in that specify how long the tenant has to collect goods and what powers the landlord has if the tenant fails to collect goods within the specified timeframe.
Always put a notice on the entrance to the property and take a photo of it to prove that attempts have been made to trace the owner of goods.
Carry out an inspection of the premises and list any items that are left behind and take photographs. Do not let third parties collect goods unless they have proof of ownership.
David Farmer is an Associate Solicitor in the Commercial Litigation team at Wilson Browne and has extensive experience in this area. Wilson Browne are recognised as the best large law firm in Northamptonshire in 2019 and are a name you can trust to provide you with pragmatic legal advice. If you have any questions, then in the first instance, contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org