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Bring business tenancy laws up to date for the 21st century.

Birmingham law firm Eversheds is calling on the Government to reform outdated landlord and tenant legislation.

It says business regulations need to come into line with residential tenancy agreements.

According to the firm, reform is overdue and modern businesses need flexibility and speed.

Currently, business leases are set up under the remit of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Under the Act, businesses which want to set up a lease for six months or more but want to ensure that it will not last any longer have to obtain a court order. This costs time and money.

There is no mechanism for a simple agreement that will guarantee that the tenant vacates at the end of the term. Yet, says Eversheds, this is what landlords and business tenants are crying out for.

Mr Adrian Bland, senior partner at Eversheds' Birmingham office, said: 'After the Second World War, there was a shortage of space available to let and legislation was put in place to ensure the relationship between landlord and tenant was carefully secured.

'However, this has not been updated.

'It is surely time for reform. The Government should look to a simple, flexible and effective solution and adapt the successful formula of residential assured shorthold tenancies and apply it to business tenancies.'

Under an assured shorthold tenancy, residential tenants usually have the right to stay in a property for six to 12 months and therefore benefit from the flexibility of a short-term arrangement. In return, the landlord knows they have no right to remain at the end of an agreement.

Eversheds says such a tenancy agreement is a transparent and easy to read document with clear guidelines. It does not require any formalities other than a signature and tenants can sign up and move in to the premises the same day. This is in stark contrast to the laborious, costly process of obtaining a court order for a business tenancy.

Mr Bland said: 'The Government should consider making assured shorthold tenancies available for business.

'Small businesses and start-up companies in particular need flexibility, speed and a mechanism to cut costs, especially in the early years when the future can be uncertain.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 24, 2000
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