Tenant’s Advice Guide for Renting Commercial Property
Renting commercial property for any length of time is a detailed process and will be one of your business’s largest expenses, so it’s vital that you understand what’s involved.
At RIB, our commercial property department is partner-led and managed by a team of experienced professionals who will guide you through the complexities of renting commercial property, from your initial enquiry all the way through to completion.
This guide will take you through a generic checklist for renting commercial property but as always, we advise you seek professional advice from our team of commercial property experts before entering in to any agreement or transaction.
When deciding on a property for your business, the fundamental question you need to ask yourself includes: ‘is this building and its amenities suitable for the needs of our business, not just for today but into the future? If, once you have done your research the answer is yes, you can then embark on the process.
The Property Owner
There is a very specific legislation in the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 concerning sub-letting, so you need to be sure that the person or company you are renting from is the legal owner of the property.
As a tenant, you must comply with the instructions contained within the lease so we advise you sit down with one of our commercial letting agents and ensure you are fully aware of both your responsibilities, and those of the Landlord.
Each party will assume different responsibilities for the duration of the tenancy so you need to know who is liable for:
- Maintenance and repair, both internally and externally. Additionally, make sure you know if you’re responsible for keeping the premises in its current condition (i.e. when the tenancy starts) or for damage or wear and tear caused prior to you moving in.
- Ensuring the building meets all current access, fire and health and safety regulations.
Ensuring that your intended use of the property falls within the scope of its legally-defined Property Use Class
Before moving in to new premises, you need to know what your financial liability is for the duration of the tenancy.
- How much is the rent?
- When is the rent paid (weekly, monthly, quarterly)? Is it in arrears or in advance?
- By what methods can the rent be paid? Cash, cheque, PayPal, BACS?
- Do you need to pay a deposit? If so, how much is it and will it get refunded at the end of the lease term?
- How much are the rates?
- Are the service and maintenance charges included in the rent? What do service and maintenance charges include?
- Are they capped or open-ended?
- Will there be any additional charges for shared services such as security/reception staff, car park or gardens?
- At which points during the tenancy will the rent be reviewed? How will the rent be reviewed?
- Dilapidation costs (the costs of reinstating the premises to the condition you found them in at the beginning of the lease term).
- Alienation – Can you assign or sublet if the premises become either too large or too small?
If you’re a 9-5 business, you shouldn’t have any issues whatsoever in terms of access, but if you work unsociable hours or a shift system, make sure your employees can have access to the property at all times.
Security is an important consideration, especially now that technical hardware runs our lives so again, you need to know if the security measures in place are sufficient both for your own peace of mind, and more importantly that you comply with the guidelines in insurance policies.
What alarm, camera and CCTV systems are installed? Are there security staff? Are there any security measures needed and if so, whose liability is it?
The End of the Tenancy
Leases under the jurisdiction of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 state that once the tenancy comes to an end, you have the right to stay and a new lease shall be granted on the same terms as the existing lease, save for the rent.
If your lease isn’t covered, known as ‘outside the Act’, then that right isn’t guaranteed and the terms of the lease are subject to negotiation in the same way the rent is.
At the end of the term, the lease will specify how the premises are to be handed back to the landlord. If this is left to interpretation and not dealt with at the commencement of the lease, it can become very costly.
Robert Irving Burns act for many tenants in sourcing and advising on the acquisition of commercial premises and we will be delighted to assist your company or organisation.
As is always the case, if there is anything you are unsure of, or you need clarification or additional information, please contact: