Whilst it’s not the most exciting thing to think of in the run up to Christmas, your obligations as a tenant do not take a holiday during the festive season. It’s therefore important to keep in mind the following five things when trading under a lease during the Christmas holidays.
1) Rent payment / Service charge payment dates:
Christmas is the gift that keeps on giving and your service charge and rent will still be due despite the festive season. If your lease requires you to pay your rent and service charge on ‘the usual quarter days’ then this includes Christmas day. You therefore need to make provisions to make early payment. Generally the last working day will be Friday 21st December so make sure payment is made before this.
2) Opening hours
We understand that consumer demand is particularly high at Christmas and businesses want to make the most of this time of year. However your lease may dictate the opening hours (particularly in shopping centres) and if you want to extend these hours you will need to ask your landlord for consent. Conversely, your lease may also have a ‘keep open’ clause which may dictate the hours you must be open even over the Christmas holidays.
Christmas is a time for bargain hunters and you may want to erect additional signage to advertise special offers or simply trim up with your Christmas decorations. You need to be mindful to check the terms of your lease before doing so as there may be restrictions on attaching objects to external walls or restrictions on signs which are visible from the outside of the premises. If there are restrictions you will need to ask your landlord for consent before attaching anything to the premises.
4) Building Maintenance / Repairs
With the Christmas holidays also comes the winter weather and it’s advisable to carry out a property inspection and any repairs necessary to prevent any further damage and ensure that you do not breach your repair obligations under the lease.
5) Rent free and Christmas shut down
If you’re looking to take on a new lease which includes a rent free period you may wish to consider postponing completion until after the Christmas period. You may lose around 2 weeks of precious rent free time where contractors aren’t actually available to undertake any fit out works. Alternatively you can ask for an additional rent free period to compensate for the Christmas shut down.
Although Landlords are generally understanding given the time of year it’s better to be on the safe side so that you don’t end up on your landlord’s naughty list!
The information contained in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. If you require further information our commercial property team would be more than happy to assist you. Please contact us at [email protected] or call us on 029 2009 5500 to speak to one of our team.