Q. I run a retail business from a leasehold lockup shop, what happens when my lease expires?
A. You are more than likely protected by the 1954 Landlord & Tenant Act that may entitle you to a new lease. However, the Landlord may be able to block your application if he wants the shop to run his own business or redevelop the site, in which case, you are probably entitled to compensation.
Q. I am buying a business as a going concern, do I need to take on the vendor's employees?
A. The general rule is that you do, and on the same terms. If you intend to be more "hands on" than your predecessor you may be able to make certain employees redundant, which may mean making redundancy payments. It is possible for the vendor to dispense with certain employees prior to completion, but only if he enters into compromise agreements with them. This means that he will have to agree appropriate compensation packages and the relevant employees will have to have the benefit of legal advice from an independent lawyer.
Q. I am selling my business which means that I need to assign my lease to the buyer. If the buyer subsequently goes bust is there any comeback on me from the Landlord?
A. The law currently differs in respect of leases granted prior to 1st January 1996 and leases granted after that date. If your lease was entered into after this date, you can only be liable after you have assigned the lease if it contains provision for what is known as an 'Authorised Guarantee Agreement', and the Landlord & Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 will give you certain safeguards by imposing certain restrictions on the extent to which the Landlord can still hold you liable. If your lease was granted prior to the 1st January 1996 you are potentially much more exposed.