By Ruth Ormrod 

The legal distinction between a lease and a licence is a crucial one, which can have very significant implications for any retailer owning or occupying commercial premises. Walker Morris’ specialist Real Estate Litigator Ruth Ormrod explains and offers practical advice.

The lease/licence distinction… 

If a person or business occupies premises, the freehold or superior interest of which is owned by somebody else: (a) for a term (that is, for a fixed period or for a period which can be ascertained by reference to a termination notice period); and (b) exclusively (that is, without interruption and with the ability to exclude the owner or any other party at any or at certain times) then, regardless as to how the occupation arrangement is named, documented or otherwise referred to, it will be a lease, as opposed to a mere licence.