When setting up a social enterprise or other non-profit organisation it is realistic to consider that you will require premises and a decision will be made by the members as to whether to lease or buy a property. The process of purchasing a property is called conveyancing and cannot be completed without a Solicitor. Alternatively, you may wish to lease the property if funds are not available to facilitate a purchase. The law of leases is governed by statute and common law. A lease is essentially a contract, therefore contract law also applies. Leases can take many forms but all must contain the following elements:

  1. The parties (named and designed with an address so that they may be identified). They must be separate people.
  2. The subjects must be adequately described so that they are identifiable.
  3. The rent payable must be clearly defined.
  4. The duration of the lease.

The parties to a lease have rights and obligations and this is determined by common law. The tenant is obliged to occupy and use the property for the purposes for which it was let. The tenant has an obligation to take reasonable care of the property and pay the rent when it becomes due. The tenant must replenish the property. The landlord must place the tenant in full possession of the property and must not deviate from the conditions set out in the lease. The property must be reasonably fit for the purposes for which it was let. The landlord is obliged to carry out repairs.

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