If the freehold to your premises is put up for sale, the bad news is that the landlord can sell to whoever they like. You don’t have first refusal.Although a landlord has a free rein when it comes to selling freehold premises, either they or their agents cannot show potential buyers around willy-nilly. They can only do this if such a right is reserved in the lease – and even then only at reasonable times and on reasonable notice.So, to prevent things getting awkward and your business being disrupted, check your paperwork and discuss the situation with the landlord. Agree suitable dates and times for viewings.What is your position?The next point to be clear about is the company’s status in the premises – is it a tenant or a licensee? If a tenant, it is likely to have greater rights and be in a stronger position. If you are unclear about where the company stands, the test adopted by the courts is to establish whether the business has “exclusive possession”. If so, it is highly likely you will have a tenancy. Exclusive possession is all about showing that you can exclude everyone from the premises, including the landlord.Best protectionIf the company is a tenant, chances are it will enjoy even more protection, thanks to the ’Landlord and Tenant Act 1954’. Basically, if you are a tenant and the Act hasn’t been excluded (it is something you must expressly agree to), then you cannot be evicted unless the landlord serves the correct form, a ’Section 25 Notice’, which complies with the correct procedure and can actually rely upon one of the grounds under the Act.There is even better news, because although one of the grounds available to a landlord is that they can obtain possession if they require the premises for their own use, they cannot rely on this if they have purchased the premises less than five years before the end of the lease.If the landlord asks you to leave, firstly check to see that the Landlord and Tenant Act is applicable. Also, look at when the lease ends, because the new landlord may be unaware of the effect of the Act and how it can protect a business tenant.Check your factsIf a new landlord appears on the scene demanding rent, don’t just cough up without asking for proof that they are the new owners.And, above all, remember that the existing lease remains valid, meaning that its terms cannot be altered.—-=== LEGISLATION NATION ===== New publicity requirements ==On 1 October 2008, new rules governing where and how your company displays its name took effect. What do you need to know to play it safe?On the premises: The Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008 introduced various new rules governing the display of corporate information on a company’s premises, as well as on its documents. As a bare minimum, a company must display its registered name at its registered office, at any “inspection place” and any other location where it carries on business. An inspection place is defined as any location where a firm keeps any of its records available for inspection under the Companies Act. The exceptions are if the company has always been dormant or the premises are used mainly for living accommodation.The company’s name no longer has to appear on the outside of its premises. However, it must be displayed in a prominent place that can clearly be read and seen by any visitor coming to your premises. It could be in your reception area for instance.On documents: business letters, order forms and websites must contain the company’s full registered name, registration number, registered office and place of registration – for example, England, Wales etc. The company’s full name only needs to appear on any notices and official publications, bills of exchange, cheques, orders for money, goods or services, receipts, invoices and other demands for payment.Full disclosure: a written request can be made by anyone who has had business dealings with your firm. They can ask you to disclose the address of your registered office, any inspection place, and the types of records kept at the registered office and/or inspection place. You must provide a written response within five working days, as failure to do so could result in a fine of up to £1,000.== Pensions ==The Pension Act 2008, which received Royal Assent on 26 November, requires employers to offer a qualifying workplace pension scheme to their workers and to automatically enrol all eligible workers into this scheme as from 2012. Employers may choose to offer the Government’s Personal Accounts scheme or another qualifying occupational or personal pension scheme.A worker’s minimum contributions to his/her pension (4% of pay) will be matched by minimum contributions from the employer (3%) and tax relief (1%).== Welfare Reform Bill – changes to benefits ==The Queen’s Speech confirmed plans to abolish income support and move the long-term unemployed, including single parents and people with disabilities, onto Jobseeker’s Allowance – so they would face benefit cuts if they do not seek work. Incapacity benefit will be reformed, so that many people now receiving benefits would also be required to seek work.The Government has since published a White Paper on welfare reform, which suggests that, in return for benefit payments, those who have been on Jobseeker’s Allowance for two years will be required to participate in full-time activity to develop their work habits and employability skills. An ’escalating sanctions regime’ will be tested, supplementing financial penalties with mandatory full-time activity for people repeatedly not meeting their obligations. By October 2010, single parents with children aged seven-plus will be required to look for work in order to get benefits.—-=== At a glance ===Tip 1: It is not unusual for landlords to use incorrect labels – for example to call something a licence, in the hope that the occupier will fall for it and move out without realising they have certain rights of occupation, if in reality they are a tenant. So be clear about the nature of any document that has been signed and don’t just look at the headline. If necessary, have it checked by a solicitor/chartered surveyor.Tip 2: Even if it is a genuine licence, it is still a form of contract and therefore has to be brought to an end correctly. Check the wording to see that the right amount of notice has been given. If it’s silent on this, then you’re entitled to reasonable notice. This will generally be worked out by looking at the period when you pay the licence fee – for example, if monthly, you are entitled to a month’s notice. News in a nut-shell
The following is a guest post from Eric Vanderburg, who serves as the Vice President of Cybersecurity at TCDI and Vice Chairman of the board at TechMin. He is a security and technology leader, author, speaker and member of Dell’s influencer program.For decades Virtual Reality (VR) has tantalized our minds. We have an acute fascination for it since virtual reality offers us experiences no other technology can match. The implications for gaming and entertainment are quite obvious and have consumed much of the recent conversation on the subject. However, virtual reality goes far beyond gaming and media. VR is currently entering many homes but soon headsets like this one that appeared at CES 2017 will make its debut into workplaces, and already has in some instances. In fact, VR adoption in the workplace is expected to increase rapidly as the technology becomes more democratized. But what will this look like?The End of the Conference RoomWorkplaces can expand beyond physical boundaries to connect employees and customers with virtual reality. Employees may connect with each other in a virtual meeting space rather than over a conference call, eventually allowing for non-verbal communication interactive presentations or virtual collaboration from remote employees as if they were in the office together. This use case for VR is anticipated and highly valued. According to Dell’s Future Workforce study data, 67 percent of millennials believe it is important to use virtual reality in meetings and product development.Virtual WorkspacesVirtual reality allows employees to take their workspace with them much like they carry their applications and user interface customizations or virtual desktops with them now. A headset replaces the monitor and the surrounding workspace such as family photos, wall art, books and other items you would find in an office. This virtual office can be accessed just like a virtual desktop.Virtual PrototypingWith VR, prototypes can be experienced, rather than just viewed. Employees can step inside a machine or walk through a building plan before a single part has been ordered. This helps companies create better products and avoid costly rework.Virtual TrainingVR can also be used for to create realistic virtual environments where skills can be put into practice. Training in VR allows people learning new tasks (students made me think of schools) to make mistakes without actually breaking something and the virtual environment can be reset quickly and easily so trainees can practice until skills are second nature. The immersive environment of VR allows for a deeper imprint on memory and caters to a different learning style that can better reinforce knowledge and improve recall.VR and the Customer ExperienceVirtual reality is also has tremendous opportunity for consumers to virtually try out goods before making a purchase. Currently, some real estate firms allow customers to virtual walk through a space. Construction is similarly undergoing changes with VR. Imagine walking through an office or home while it is still in the design stages, checking out the view from your next vacation rental, sitting behind the wheel of that new car, or virtually trying on clothing from an online retailer. The sports industry uses virtual reality to replay events in previous games or train on certain maneuvers. This is some of what VR is offering the enterprise.Roadmap to VR successDell’s workforce study showed that employees, especially millennials, expect to be working in a smart office in the near future and many do not consider their current office smart enough. Virtual reality in the enterprise is a way to attract the best talent and to make them more productive. VR also enables companies to establish better relationships with their customers. So how do companies prepare now to utilize this technology?Businesses need to be able to create VR content for their employees and customers, so they must have the equipment and training to make their ideas a reality. Dell is one company that has stepped in to meet this challenge by providing the tools for VR content creation and an environment where innovation and collaboration can take place. In an interview with Liam Quinn, CTO at Dell, he explained how Dell has established a VR center for excellence where companies work with VR technologies, collaborate and innovate solutions. Dell also provides VR content creation tools with its Precision workstation series that is equipped with hardware capable of creating VR applications.It is not too early to start thinking about how VR will fit into your enterprise. Connect with the VR community, exchange ideas, and equip your workforce with the tools to seize these opportunities. Are you ready to take your company into VR?This post was sponsored by Dell, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell Technologies’ positions or strategies.Eric Vanderburg is an author, thought leader, and consultant. He serves as the Vice President of Cybersecurity at TCDI and Vice Chairman of the board at TechMin. He is best known for his insight on cybersecurity, privacy, data protection, and storage. Eric is a continual learner who has earned over 40 technology and security certifications. He has a strong desire to share technology insights with the community. Eric is the author of several books and he frequently writes articles for magazines, journals, and other publications.