Planning and statutory obligations
The result of the local authority search will confirm the authorised use of the building and any conditions on that use.
You must be satisfied that your proposed use is authorised by express planning consent or established use over 10 years with no enforcement proceedings.
If you intend to change the use of the property you should establish whether planning permission will be needed and whether it is likely to be obtained.
You must also comply with the specific user covenants in the Lease.
If you are planning any redevelopment of the property yourself be careful to check if planning permission will be required for the proposed works, the realistic prospects of obtaining any planning consent required and the likely time and costs that will be involved. Again you must also check the terms of the Lease to see if the proposed works are permitted or if Landlord’s consent will be required.
You should also satisfy yourself that any building works carried out by the landlord or a previous tenant in the last four years have been carried out pursuant to an express planning permission and in accordance with building regulations so that no enforcement action will be brought by the local authority.
“Contaminated land” is defined in Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as any land which, by reason of substances in, on or under the land appears to be in such a condition that:
– significant harm to the environment or human health is being caused, or there is a significant possibility of such harm being caused; or water pollution is being or is likely to be caused.
The regime imposes an obligation on all local authorities to inspect their areas in order to identify any contaminated land.
Where land has been identified as contaminated land, the local authority is under an obligation to serve a remediation notice on the relevant appropriate persons requiring them to remediate the contamination. Sometimes the appropriate person can be the tenant even if the contamination pre-dated the tenant’s occupation.
It is for this reason that it is important to investigate the historic use of the premises (e.g. by obtaining an environmental search) or to negotiate lease terms which make it clear that you will not be held liable for any pre-existing contamination.
It is important that you are aware of your statutory obligations as a leasehold owner of commercial property. Some of the aspects to consider are as follows:-
- Disability Discrimination Act
- Construction (Design Management) Regulations
- Fire Regulations