It appears my blog post earlier this month about Ocado opening a temporary 'virtual supermarket' store in Birmingham's Bullring (click here for more details) has prompted some interesting feedback about legal liabilities.
Kevin Nagle, partner and commercial property expert at law firm Shakespeares believes there are risks involved in giving third parties temporary access to empty shops which could lead to costly disputes. He says: "I read your article with interest, particularly the point made by Emel Ahmet, associate director at Colliers, that this is 'a great way for landlords to utilise temporary units'.
"While the government's recently announced plans to remove planning red tape to make way for more 'pop-up' shops will be an appealing option for a number of landlords, there are risks involved. Granting occupation without having a formal tenancy agreement in place could lead to costly and time-consuming disputes."
Nagle explains that short-term, flexible leases are becoming more widely used due to the uncertainty of the property market in the longer term. He believes that where appropriate, short form leases or tenancy agreements should therefore be used to avoid unnecessary delay and keep costs down.
He adds: "Planning and other existing restrictions on the use of premises need to be properly observed before granting tenancies which would permit a change of use, as this could have adverse implications at a later date."
Well, nothing's ever simple these days! What are your views? Feel free to send your comments in via the comment box below...