Essential Advice for Airsoft Hosts on Commercial Tenancies
In the light of several recent cases of airsoft sites being put out of business by commercial landlords, we’ve consulted with a few legal advisers on the matter of commercial tenancies. Read on to find out how to better protect your airsoft business.
• 5 min read
In the UK there are two main types of tenancies: residential and commercial. Airsoft organisers rent their sites as a businesses, and so they use commercial type of contracts. There are several ways to protect yourself from being taken advantage of when signing a business lease for an airsoft site:
- Understand your rights: Familiarise yourself with your rights as a tenant, such as the right to a safe and habitable property, and the right to have repairs carried out in a timely manner.
- Get everything in writing: Make sure that all agreements, including the terms of the lease, are in writing and signed by both parties. This will help to prevent misunderstandings and disputes.
- Keep records: Keep records of all communications with your landlord, including emails, letters, and receipts for any repairs or maintenance carried out. This will help to protect you if there are any disputes.
- Use a written complaint procedure: If you have a problem with your landlord, follow the written complaint procedure outlined in your lease or rental agreement. This will help to resolve the issue in a formal and structured manner.
In addition, when reviewing your rental contract, there are certain provisions that a landlord cannot demand in the UK:
- Unfair or illegal terms: The tenancy contract cannot contain any terms that are unfair, illegal, or against public policy.
- Excessive security deposits: The landlord cannot require a security deposit that is disproportionate to the value of the property or the length of the tenancy.
- Restrictions on the use of the property: The landlord cannot restrict the tenant's use of the property in a way that is unreasonable or unfairly prejudicial.
- Personal guarantees: The landlord cannot require the tenant to provide a personal guarantee, unless the tenant is a limited company and the guarantee is necessary to secure the performance of the tenant's obligations under the tenancy agreement.
- Landlord's right to enter the property: The landlord cannot demand the right to enter the property at any time, unless there is a valid reason for doing so (such as to carry out repairs or maintenance).
- Automatic renewal: The landlord cannot include a clause in the tenancy agreement that automatically renews the tenancy for a fixed term unless the tenant takes action to terminate the tenancy.
It is important to carefully review the terms of the tenancy agreement before signing it to ensure that it is fair and reasonable. If you have any concerns about the terms of the tenancy agreement, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor.
Termination of tenancy
In general, a commercial landlord does have the right to end a tenancy before the end of the contract only in specific circumstances. This is usually outlined in the terms of the tenancy agreement.
For example, a commercial tenancy agreement may include a clause that allows the landlord to terminate the tenancy early if the tenant breaches the terms of the agreement, such as by failing to pay rent or by using the property for an unlawful purpose.
A commercial tenancy agreement may also include a break clause, which allows either the landlord or the tenant to terminate the tenancy early by giving notice. The terms of the break clause, including the notice period and any conditions that must be met, will be set out in the tenancy agreement.
According to the gov.uk article on commercial tenancies:
After a fixed-term tenancy has ended, the tenant must usually give 3 months notice if they want to end the lease. The landlord must usually give 6 months notice.
The lease will state the amount of notice each party must give.
The above article on gov.uk is extremely well written and should give you plenty of guidance on do’s and don’ts of commercial tenancies. In addition, there’s a separate article on Renewing your commercial property lease, which we recommend as well.
Due to the nature of running an airsoft business, the best way to ensure its stability is to negotiate longer conditions of break/termination, giving you a more reasonable time to seek alternative arrangements and vacate the premisses. While 30 days may sound like plenty of time to a residential tenant, for average airsoft site it’s not enough to even issue a formal challenge if a dispute arises.
Remember, that as a commercial tenant you have the right to issue a formal complaint in cases, such as unauthorised changes to the property, interference with your business, unfair rent increases, etc.
It really breaks our heart whenever we hear that a given airsoft site has been closed or is due to close. PlayAirsoft is intended to be as much of a resource for players as it is for hosts who organise airsoft skirmishes for us, because without them there would be no places to safely take part in our beloved pastime.