Richard Collett

Horsey Lightly expands its Commercial Property Team.

Press Release: 

Horsey Lightly, one of the region’s leading firms, has added to its strong team of experienced solicitors at their Newbury office by recruiting Richard Collett from the Oxfordshire based firm, BrookStreet des Roches.

 Jeremy Fitzgibbon, Managing Partner, says “We are always seeking to recruit high calibre solicitors and welcome Richard to our team.  The growth of business continues to be significant in the Thames Valley region and we must maintain our ability to provide a fast response to the needs of our clients.”  The Commercial Property team in Newbury which includes 2 partners, handles a broad range of transactions for developers, public bodies and private individuals from acquisitions and disposals of commercial premises and land, to joint ventures, leases, property investments and portfolio management.

 After graduating from the College of Law in 2000, Richard began his legal career at Pinsent Masons in London, before taking up in-house positions in both the private and public sectors.

 He spent two years with the shopping centre developer Westfield, working on flagship developments in West and East London. More recently, Richard has developed his practice in the retail and leisure sector, undertaking portfolio management work for a very well known high street retailer and a rapidly growing UK health club operator. He has also acted for the world's leading global food service retailer in respect of its high value pre-lets.  

Richard has experience in all aspects of commercial property law and offers advice to a wide range of clients with varying needs and aims. However, one of the areas he gets quizzed on regularly is that of the issue of Lease Repair Covenants for both tenants and landlords.

A repair obligation could prove to be a substantial liability at the end (or even during) the term of a lease so it is important to think about what repair obligation you are taking on as a tenant - or imposing as a landlord.

The main issues of contention are (1) the extent of the repairing obligation and (2) the standard of repair required.

Extent of Repairs

 This will depend on the nature of the property being let. For a lease of part only of a building, the repair liability is limited to the internal area let to the tenant. The Landlord will usually be obliged to repair the structure (such as exterior walls and roof) plus the common areas. The cost of these repairs will be charged back to the tenant via an annual service charge, split in proportion to the area let to each tenant occupying the building.

For a lease of a whole building, a tenant would normally find itself responsible for repairing the entire building, including the structural parts.

 Standard of Repair

 This can vary and it is especially important for tenants to be aware of the implications of a repair standard requiring them to keep the property “in good and substantial repair”. This standard obliges the tenant to put any part of the property that is not in “good and substantial” repair into such condition. This may come at considerable cost, particularly if the tenant is responsible for repairing any structural elements. This is not normally an issue for new or recently refurbished properties but tenants of older properties – in more disrepair - could be exposed to significant costs.

 Tenants can protect themselves from financial exposure by qualifying their repair obligations by reference to the state and condition of the property as at the date when it is let to them. This is evidenced by a photographic schedule of condition which must be agreed with the landlord before being attached to the lease. The tenant then has the comfort of knowing they cannot be required to spend money improving the condition of the property and also insulates the tenant from any dilapidations claim that the landlord may seek immediately after the tenancy has ended.

 Richard says he is delighted to be joining Horsey Lightly as is looking forward to working in the thriving business community.

  If you would like to know more, please contact Richard: E:  T: 01635 580858