Property problems: What stays and what goes when tenant quits?

Wednesday 14 April 2004

Q. I am the owner of a number of commercial premises and often run into problems with tenants when they leave the premises and either take everything, like the carpet and light fittings, or leave unwanted items behind.

What is a tenant entitled to take when the lease ends and they leave the premises?

Can they take the fit-out? What happens to anything that is left

By The Landlord


A: The answer to this question is likely to be found in your lease with the tenant. There may be a clause which allows you, as the landlord, to require the tenant to remove everything the tenant has brought into the premises and return the premises to the state they were in at the start of the lease.

The premises will then be ready for fitting out by the new tenant. In some cases, rather than the tenant actually removing its fit-out and "making good", the parties will agree to a payment being made in lieu of this obligation.

The landlord can then arrange to have the work carried out, or try to re-let the premises with the existing fit-out.

Alternatively, the lease may give the landlord the right to retain the outgoing tenant's fit-out, so that it becomes the landlord's property.

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