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Structure of a Commercial Lease

View profile for Joseph Hossein
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Leases can be lengthy and complicated documents. Well drafted leases however tend to follow a similar format. Below is a quick glimpse at the format and key parts of many commercial leases:

Date of the Lease – One of the first things you will see in a lease is the date of the lease. This is the date the lease was completed and so is the date the lease actually came in to existence.

Details of the Parties – Next you will see the names and correspondence addresses of the key parties to the lease. These will include the landlord and tenant and any guarantors and other covenantors.

Definitions – The next section of a lease will set forth the many various definitions of words and phrases used throughout the lease. Some key definitions will include the definition of the “Property”, “Contractual Term” and “Annual Rent”. Referring back to the definitions is essential when reading through a lease.

Interpretation – After the definitions section of a lease there will sometimes be a small section concerned with interpretation. This section clarifies how certain undefined and potentially problematic words and phrases are to be interpreted when reading through a lease. 

Plans – Near the front or back of the lease you can sometimes find colour plans outlining the extent of the leased property and the larger estate/building within which the property is situated.

Operative clauses – This is the section where it expressly states that the landlord is granting the tenant the lease for the specified contractual term. This section also outlines the landlord and tenant’s rights and obligations under the lease. It may also refer to further information or obligations set out in any schedules attached to the lease.

Signature section – This is where the parties sign the lease to confirm their acceptance of its terms.

Schedules - Here you can sometimes find additional landlord and tenant obligations which are not fully set out in the operative clauses section. These often refer to obligations relating to rent reviews, guarantees and service charges etc.


Should you need expert legal advice regarding any of the above or indeed any other property law matters, please contact Joseph Seyed Hossein at or telephone 01204 540 900.

The contents of this article are for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.