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Commercial Property

Leases and town centre regeneration

Emma Stephen, partner in our Commercial Property team, is featured in the latest edition of AGCC's Bulletin.

The pandemic has ripped through town centres leaving boarded up shop fronts, dilapidated buildings and deserted high streets in its wake.  However, there are many angles to look at this problem from including planning, taxation, investment, unit size, new shopping centres etc.  This article looks at the impact leasing has and how landlords can play their part in regeneration.

Introduction/Background

The majority of commercial leases in Scotland incorporate provisions entitling the Landlord to terminate a Lease in the case of Tenant breach.  Irritancy clauses, as they are known, entitle a Landlord to take steps to regain possession and reclaim rent and other monetary arrears including interest within a relatively short period of time. 

With stringent social distancing measures still in place, many professionals working in the real estate industry are considering electronic signatures as an alternative method of concluding contracts and securing the execution of formal deeds.   Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, the use of electronic signatures was rare but with signatories confined to home, reliance on the traditional ‘’wet ink’’ signature approach can be a challenge.        

What is LBTT?

On the 1st of April 2015, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (“LBTT”) replaced Stamp Duty Land Tax in Scotland. LBTT is a property tax applied to residential and commercial land and buildings transactions (including commercial leases). In most cases an LBTT return will require to be made to Revenue Scotland shortly after the date of entry to the property by either the purchaser or tenant (normally submitted by their solicitor).

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