So, Geoff signs the lease for the galleryRAUXA premises on Thursday afternoon, we transfer 3 months rent and insurance to our solicitor's client account. We expect completion on Friday and we'll be able to pick up the keys ... ?! Yes?!
NO. On Thursday evening, we get an e-mail from the landlord's agents saying the landlord wants to change the break clause from 3 years to 5, the Agents office isn't open on Friday (what?! he prepared the completion statement saying Friday for completion) but he'll be monitoring his e-mails "what are your thoughts?" A 3 year break clause has been part of the Heads of Terms since we started negotiations two months ago. "Sorry about the short notice" he says. The Agents office was shut all day yesterday apparently for a member of staff's funeral. We e-mailed back immediately and left a message on his mobile phone with no response. We have to spend the weekend not knowing what is happening.
The other side's solicitors said yesterday they were urgently seeking instructions, up til Thursday afternoon, they too were expecting to complete on Friday. We suspect that a charity shop (who put in a smaller offer at the same time as us) has spotted the fact that the premises have been empty for the last couple of weeks (while the legals go through their machinations) and put in a better offer. It could all be speculation but it looks like we are being gazumped and our dreams are shattered.
Our solicitor says it's unprecendented in all his years of negotiating leases for the other side to attempt to change the Heads of Terms the day before completion. It happens all the time in domestic house purchasing before exchange of contracts but not with commercial leases. A three year break clause is pretty standard for a new lease and most landlords expect it.
If they want to renegotiate the terms of the lease at this late stage, then so do we, we'd like to decrease the rent by £1,000 a year, please - sorry about the short notice!
A little levity to break up the miserable nature of this posting but in reality we are beyond upset, we are beyond angry. It could all be a misunderstanding but it would've happened yesterday if the landlords intended to proceed with us, three months of rent were just waiting to be transferred and they don't appear to want it. We are left with two wasted months, alot of time and money expended, a cluttered up home and no income.