The last 20 years has seen a gradual progression towards an open register of title at the Land Registry allowing general public access to most title documents. This brings the possibility of commercially sensitive information being available for public view, thereby potentially compromising parties' bargaining positions. This can be particularly important for a landlord of any multi-let property. Three simple protective measures a landlord can adopt are:
- Only permitting compromising concessions to be granted by way of side letter to the lease. Such side letters need not be provided to the Land Registry when the lease is being registered;
- Requiring a tenant to register its lease as an 'exempt information document'. This entitles the registering party to blank out commercially sensitive information from the lease. This will ensure that the specified information (such as concessionary rents or enhanced rent free periods) is kept out of the public domain;
- Only permitting a tenant to protect an Agreement for Lease at the Land Registry by way of a unilateral notice. This does not require the tenant to lodge a copy of the Agreement for Lease, it merely records that a third party has an interest in the property, identifies the extent of the property affected and names the beneficiary.