Looking to sign a new commercial property lease in the UK? Hopefully that’s a good sign of business growth. Maybe you’re looking to move your base of operations from having the business at home, in shared services offices, or in serviced offices. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure that you consider everything – the location, the cost, will your staff be happy there, will it be good for business, is the timing right? And most importantly negotiate. I like to call it bargaining – there’s no shame in doing that and you will save ££££ and feel good when you get more value out of your landlord.
Visiting the commercial property
- Have you visited the property during rush hour?
- What transport routes are available?
- How long has the property been vacant?
- Who else is on the business park / in the building?
- Is there an communal area for your employees to relax in?
- Is the property vacant or will you take ownership of all assets that have been left inside?
- Is there sufficient electrical power?
- Are there enough electrical outlets?
- Is the property wired for a fast Internet network?
- Is there any natural lighting?
- Is there sufficient electrical lighting?
- Is there sufficient heating?
- Is there sufficient air conditioning?
- Are there enough parking spaces for employees?
- Are there secure cycle racks?
- Are there any visitor parking spaces?
- Do you know how large a sign and what type you can erect anywhere on site?
- How long will the landlord take to replace all signage?
- If shipping, is your shipping area easily accessible to large trucks?
Risks and Security
- Is there any indication of roof leaks?
- Is the cost of burglary insurance high in the area?
- Can you secure the building at a low cost against the threat of burglary?
- How is the business park / building secured overnight?
- Will you be able to have 24/7 access to the offices?
Third party permissions
- Will the health department approve your business at this location?
- Will the fire department approve your business at this location?
- Will the local authority allow your business to operate in the facility?
- Will the landlord allow the alterations that you deem necessary?
Drawing up the commercial property lease
- How long is the lease for?
- Do you know your date of possession?
- How much rent do you need to pay?
- Have you bargained for free rent – one, three, six months rent free?
- Do you know when your lease payment begins?
- Have you negotiated a break clause?
- Do you have written guidelines for renewal / extension terms?
- How much are the business rates?
- Are there any maintenance fees to pay?
- How are the utilities paid for?
- Any sewerage fees to pay?
- When are the rent reviews set?
- Have you asked your landlord for a cap of 5 percent on your rent increases?
- Have you included penalty clauses in case the project is late and you are denied occupancy?
- Have you retained the right to obtain your own bids for signage?
- Must you pay for returning the building to its original condition when you move?
- Have you included a written description of the property?
- Have you attached drawings of the property to the lease document?
- Have you taken photos of the property for evidence of its condition before moving in?
- Have you stated the landlords’ responsibility for improvements?
- Has a commercial property solicitor reviewed your contract?
- Have you projected how much money you will spent each year on having the business lease and paying rent?
- Have you budgeted for decoration costs?
- Have you budgeted for furnishing costs?
- Have you budgeted for moving in costs?