It is no good for small businesses to cross their fingers and hope for the best. Buildings wear out and tenants can face hefty repair bills. Think ahead.
It is all too easy for a powerful landlord to prey on small business tenants and to take advantage of their ignorance and trust. Tony Danaher, managing director of Tamesis, a London-based marketing consultancy, learnt the hard way. The company took a lease on offices in London's Docklands and gave the landlord a deposit of £5,000 or three months' rent to hold against 'dilapidations' (a term covering the condition of leasehold premises and both parties' repairing obligations under a lease). Recently, when the lease came to an end, however, the landlord withheld the deposit claiming that Tamesis had failed to maintain a kitchen area in good decorative order and internal doors had been damaged.