Whether you are purchasing a commercial freehold or leasehold property, intending to enter into a lease of commercial premises, or buying land for development, it is important to investigate the title to that property before you commit.
We will carry out checks to make sure that the seller/landlord is entitled to sell the property/grant a lease of the property to you. It could be that there is a title restriction preventing a transfer in certain circumstances, or a provision in a headlease prohibiting the granting of a sublease without consent (e.g. from a lender or superior landlord).
It is also important to establish whether there are any defects in the title that would adversely affect your interests, or prevent you from using the property for your intended purpose. For example, there could be a restrictive covenant on the title which prohibits the use of the property for a certain trade or preventing use other than for the existing use. Breaching restrictive covenants can be costly if enforced by those benefitting from the same and in the worst case scenario could make the property unusable or the value plummet.
Protecting Your Rights
We will also check that the title to the property includes the necessary rights to enable you to access and use the property. The title will reveal rights granted for the benefit of the property. Any additional rights needed would then be included in the transfer or lease. Likewise, the title could include rights reserved for others, and if so, it is important to review whether these rights could adversely affect your use and enjoyment of the property. For example, someone may benefit from a right to construct a road on the property you are going to purchase or go over it for some other purpose. You will want to consider whether the reserved rights are acceptable or, if not, explore options for dealing with them before agreeing to take the property.
For a lender, title investigation is vital to ascertain whether the property will provide sufficient security. If there are defects in the title this could adversely affect the value of the property or prevent the lender from realising their security.
We can help you with this. We have extensive experience of investigating title including large, unregistered pieces of land.
Please see further information on our team of Commercial Property solicitors and our full range of services.