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I have a dispute about my lease or bond. What can I do?

For commercial leases, it is the lease itself which is the primary source of law. Whether you are a landlord or tenant, first look to the terms of your lease to find out your obligations.

One of the most common types of disputes regarding a bond is the “make good” (i.e. returning the property back to its original condition) at the end of a lease. The lease should specify what is required of the tenant, but this is not always clear when you read your lease.

You can change what is required by agreement – usually this is the best way to resolve things.

For example, the tenant might say, “I know I am supposed to remove that internal partition wall, but do you think the next tenant might want it in place?” The landlord or agent might agree if they think that their next tenant can use it.

It’s a good idea to do reports about the condition of the property at the start of the lease, as well as at the very end, once make good has been completed.

Another common claim on a bond is that the tenant is behind in rent or outgoings. The bond is also there to be used by the landlord to cover any legitimate shortfalls.

In either case, if there is a dispute, the Agent/Landlord and the Tenant should first try to negotiate a settlement.

If an agreement can't be reached, or communication is too difficult, then our team can help with mediation. For retail lease disputes, mediation is required by law (under the Retail Leases Act 1994).

Contact us for advice on next steps.

In most cases, negotiation and mediation will resolve the dispute. However, some cases may need to go to a court or tribunal for determination and you may need to seek legal advice if the matter is high enough value.