What is a Commercial Property Dispute?
October 31, 2023

A commercial property dispute is a disagreement that occurs over real estate that is used for business activities. Disputes most commonly arise between landlords and tenants and can occur at different stages of the working relationship.

Disagreements over the terms of a lease can often cause problems initially. Boundary and nuisance claims can sometimes undermine an ongoing relationship, with disputes over the condition of the business premises once a tenant vacates a property also frequently giving rise to tension.

Commercial property disputes are often complicated and involve complex areas of law. Landlords and commercial tenants who experience a disagreement should seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

What are the common causes of commercial property disputes?

Commercial landlords and their tenants can fall out over various matters. Some of the most common causes of commercial property dispute include:

  • Lease disputes. Disputes can arise over the inclusion of certain terms in a commercial property lease and disagreements over the interpretation of clauses.
  • Rent disputes. Commercial tenants who default on their rental payments and fall into rent arrears can cause severe problems for landlords.
  • Issues over the maintenance of the property and establishing who is responsible for any disrepair, damage or other defects can frequently cause problems between landlords and tenants.
  • Adverse possession. This is sometimes referred to as ‘squatters rights’ and involves someone occupying land or a building without the owner’s permission.
  • Service charge disputes. This is a frequent source of disagreement between commercial landlords and tenants. Service charge disputes include, for example, if the service charge is unreasonable or excessive, the landlord is charging for a service not covered in the lease, or the apportionment of service charge costs is unfair.
  • Breach of covenant. Covenants generally dictate how parties to a lease must or must not act and what they can and cannot do, such as subletting a property, keeping premises in a certain condition and agreeing to alterations.

What are the consequences of commercial property disputes?

Commercial property disputes can have significant repercussions for landlords and tenants. They can prove costly and time consuming, severely undermine business operations and result in a loss of revenue for both parties.

Early legal advice can be hugely beneficial in minimising any potential fallout. At Muscatt Black Graf, we advise commercial landlords and tenants on a wide range of commercial property dispute matters.

If you wish to speak to one of our Disputes Team, please contact us via

How can you avoid commercial property disputes?

Landlords and commercial tenants can avoid many potential issues from the outset of their relationship by paying close attention to the clauses included in the lease of a property.

Landlords should ensure that a commercial lease is clear and covers every eventuality. An experienced commercial real estate solicitor will ensure your requirements are addressed when drafting the commercial documentation in your transaction and advise on the best course of action to prevent potential disagreements.

Commercial property leases should be professionally drafted and scrutinised carefully by both parties before signing.

Ironing out any potential for disagreements at this early stage ensures both parties know where they stand and helps prevent commercial property disputes from arising in the first place or becoming difficult to resolve.

Clear and open communication is also advisable to stop disputes from escalating and to minimise any damage to a business relationship. A written log of any relevant incidents or correspondence can prove helpful to refer to later on.

How can you resolve commercial property disputes?

Commercial property disputes require swift intervention in order to minimise the fallout. Seeking advice from a specialist commercial property dispute resolution lawyer when an issue arises is vital.

Muscatt Black Graf have extensive experience in commercial property disputes and will offer a realistic perspective on your position.

We will advise on the likely outcome of any legal action, helping you to achieve a satisfactory result as quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible.

Commercial Property Disputes Lawyers London

Muscatt Black Graf advises property owners, developers, landlords and tenants on a wide range of real estate disputes, including disputes about:

  • Ownership of property.
  • Acquisition of property.
  • Contracts.
  • Leases.
  • Mortgages.
  • Professional negligence.
  • Repossession of property.
  • Recovery of rent.
  • Dilapidations and disrepair claims.
  • Rights of way and rights of light.
  • Party walls.
  • Boundary disputes.
  • Contentious and non-contentious business lease renewals.
  • Forfeiture/ relief from forfeiture.
  • Enfranchisement.
  • Lease variation.

Our clients include landlords, tenants, real estate investment companies, institutions, developers, and retailers.

To speak to one of our experienced Disputes lawyers, please email

To find out more about Muscatt Black Graf’s Disputes practice, please click here.

This blog was prepared on 16 October 2023. It is not intended to be advice and should not be relied upon as such.

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