Is A Deed Of Surrender Necessary?


A Deed of Surrender for a tenancy signifies the formal termination of the landlord-tenant tenancy agreement. Both parties are required to sign the Deed of Surrender; upon execution, the tenant will forfeit all legal rights to occupy the premises.

The Deed of Surrender may be executed in writing and signed by both the landlord and tenant, or it may be agreed upon verbally. In order to avoid any future ambiguity, it is recommended that both parties document the agreement in the event that the Deed of Surrender is delivered verbally. The question arises as to whether a Deed of Surrender is necessary to terminate a commercial lease early and in this article, Is A Deed Of Surrender Necessary, we take a look at the process and mechanism involved.

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For a free initial discussion with a member of our New Enquiries Team, get in touch with us today. We are experienced in dealing with all the legal aspects of Deeds of Surrender and the early termination of commercial leases, and once instructed, we will review your situation and discuss the options open to you in a clear and approachable manner. Early expert legal assistance can help ensure you are on the best possible footing from the start and also avoid the stress of dealing with these issues on your own. Simply call us on 0345 901 0445 or click here to make a free enquiry and a member of the team will get back to you.

Is a Deed of Surrender necessary to terminate a lease?

A lease is considered surrendered when the tenant returns to the landlord their interest and both parties agree that the lease will be terminated.  While formal documentation, such as a deed, can be used, it is not always necessary.  If the landlord and tenant agree that the lease will be surrendered and they act in a way that is inconsistent with the lease continuing, the lease will be surrendered ‘by operation of law’.

While the absence of a formal deed could speed up the process and reduce costs, it may also introduce ambiguity regarding the intentions of both parties involved.

The essential criterion is that the landlord and tenant must perform an “unequivocal” act indicating their agreement that the lease is terminating. This could be accomplished by the tenant leaving the premises while the landlord reoccupies, or by the landlord granting a new lease for the same premises.

Intentionally, this may occur when the landlord acknowledges the surrender of the original lease and proceeds to issue a new lease to another individual.  It can also occur by chance if both parties agree to a lease amendment that extends the term.  By operation of law, this will be regarded as a surrender, irrespective of the parties’ intentions.

Can the tenant just hand back the keys and walk away?

In brief, the answer is no. The landlord’s conduct should unequivocally indicate that the tenant has voluntarily relinquished the property, which constitutes a surrender.

In the event that a tenant in financial hardship returns the keys, the landlord ought to promptly seek legal advice. Although courts have been reluctant to discover that a landlord has inadvertently accepted a surrender, such complications are avoidable with the application of appropriate advice. The landlord should promptly communicate that despite the possession of the keys, the lease has not been surrendered.  It is of the utmost importance to seek legal guidance regarding rent demands and tenant offers to make partial payments of arrears, as this complex matter can have significant consequences.

How we can help

We have a proven track record of helping clients deal with Deeds of Surrender and the early termination of commercial leases. We will guide you through the process and ensure all checks are carried out swiftly and efficiently and we firmly believe that with the right solicitors by your side, the entire process will seem more manageable and far less daunting.

How to Contact Our Commercial Property Solicitors

It is important for you to be well informed about the issues and possible implications of a Deed of Surrender and the early termination of commercial leases. However, expert legal support is crucial in terms of ensuring a positive outcome to your case.

To speak to our Commercial Property solicitors today, simply call us on 0345 901 0445, or click here to make a free enquiry. We are well known across the country and can assist wherever you are based. We also have offices based in Cheshire and London.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice on any individual circumstances.

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