Negotiating Lease Variations: Keeping the Small Stuff Simple

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Speaker(s): Mark Shelton
CPD Time: 1.5 hours
Duration: 1 hour
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Varying lease terms may look like a simple matter, and sometimes it is.  It is only when you start to realise just how many landlord and tenant disputes, and negligence claims against professional advisers, begin with a lease variation, that you realise how many pitfalls there are for the unwary.  Getting it wrong may involve inadvertently releasing guarantors, conferring security of tenure, adverse impact at rent review, and additional SDLT liability.  Clients may expect these matters to involve a minimum of fuss and expense, but they can raise many technical issues and often require bespoke drafting.  This video identifies the problem areas, and suggests how things can be documented with the least risk. Anyone involved in negotiating agreements between landlord and tenant needs to be on top of these issues.

Learning Objectives

As a result of watching this video, delegates will:

  • Understand what variations may amount to a surrender of the existing lease by operation of law, and the grant of a new one
  • Identify structures which avoid unintentional surrender and re-grant, and when a deliberate surrender and re-grant may be a good option
  • Gain an awareness of how variations of leases can affect the continuing obligations of guarantors and former tenants, and how the benefit of those obligations can be preserved
  • Identify the risk of ‘hidden variations’ arising from routine transactions such as landlord’s consents and rent review settlements
  • Understand how side letters may bind successors in title, and the practical implications for agreeing concessionary terms



Mark Shelton has worked in major commercial law firms for 30 years.  As a property litigator he worked at Linklaters, and was later a partner at Lawrence Graham.  He has acted for clients including Land Securities, British Land, Allied Dunbar Assurance, J Sainsbury plc and the Burton Group, gaining experience of the full range of contentious work in a commercial property context.

More recently he has practised as a professional support lawyer, working at DLA Piper and Eversheds, and now works freelance as a legal trainer.  He is also the author of The Lease Guide website.  Outside work, he does his best to reconcile an enthusiasm for wine and cuisine with an equal enthusiasm for cycling and triathlon.

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