In property law, demise means to transfer by lease.
The phrase ‘demised premises’ generally refers to premises that have been transferred by lease, as opposed to the ‘retained parts’ which are not transferred but are retained by the landlord. The phrase can also be used in property deeds, and can sometimes be considered to include the duration of the lease as well as the physical extent of the premises.
The demised premises therefore are generally the parts of the premises that the leaseholder or tenant is permitted to occupy. It is very important to check that the extent of the demised premises set out in the lease correctly reflects both parties understanding of what the leaseholder or tenant is permitted to occupy and what are the retained parts. This may be set out in terms of an address and a plan or plans with the demised premises clearly edged in black or red. The extent of the demised premises may include; parts of a building (perhaps including lofts or basements) parts of the external landscape, car parking and so on. Plans may also indicate 'common areas', that is, parts that are shared with others.
In addition to the right to occupy, the lease should set out who is responsible for maintaining and repairing the different parts of the building. Whilst broadly, the tenant or leaseholder is likely to remain responsible for the demised premises, and the landlord the retained parts, this is not necessarily the case and the landlord may for example remain responsibility for the structure. The situation can be particularly complex where a property is sub-divided into a number of different premises.
Care should be taken defining rights and responsibilities in relation to:
- Common services and plant.
- Premises services.
- Internal load-bearing walls.
- Internal partitions.
- Boundary walls.
- Fixtures and fittings.
- Pipes and guttering.
- Plaster, plasterboard and surface finishes.
- Doors and windows.
- Floor joists.
- Floorboards or screed.
- Floor finishes.
- Loft spaces and basements.
- External decorations.
- Common areas.
- Landscape and parking.
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