Edwin Coe LLP is assisting a group of serviced office licensees, who have taken on office space from one provider on the understanding that they would be able to up or downsize that space according to their changing business needs, but who have now been told that they are unable to downsize.
Many shared office space providers (SOSP) advertise their properties as being a simple and flexible alternative to leasing an office. Serviced offices work well for many small businesses, sole traders and entrepreneurs who require a base for their business, but do not want to be tied in to the formality of a lease.
Like businesses up and down the country, the coronavirus has affected many coworking businesses and caused them to re-evaluate their office needs. Working from home or rota systems for employees to work from the office have been the norm. This means many businesses have been looking to reduce their office space. However, upon seeking to take advantage of the supposed flexibility of the licences granted by their particular SOSP, we are aware of a large number of licensees being told that downsizing is not an option for them and that they must either keep their current office space, take more space or pay to leave.
Yesterday’s announcements by the Prime Minister to work from home if you can, make the need to downsize quickly even more pressing for many cowork businesses.
If you entered into a licence with a SOSP on the basis that you would be entitled to upsize or downsize, and you now find yourself with the SOSP refusing to honour this commitment, please contact Joanna Osborne or Emma Gregory from our Property Litigation team as soon as possible, as you may be eligible to join a group of fellow businesses who are considering joining forces to take action.
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Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.
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