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Renting an industrial or commercial property - ten top tips about leasing

Commercial property search

  1. Be prepared – If you are a new business speak to your bank before commencing your property search.  Seek their advice, support and assistance in financial planning and the production of a business plan.  Your bank will be asked by the landlord for a reference when you find a suitable property. In terms of existing businesses making ready financial statements such as accounts and a list of referees is always a good idea.
  2. Assess your budget - Now armed with your business plan you will be able to calculate an approximate financial budget range for your new premises to include both the rent and business rates for your new premises.  The amount of Business Rates payable depoends on the type of property and location - it can sometimes be as much as 50% of your rent commitment.
  3. Business Rates – The amount payable to the local council for business rates can sometimes be a hefty burden.  There are however currently measures in place reducing the amount payable with rate relief to small businesses and registered charities.  Speak to your local authority to confirm whether you may qualify for assistance.
  4. Know your location – It is important to research and identify locations where there might be a gap in the market for your business or that suit the nature of your operation in respect of communications.  It is useful to visit the preferred locations that you have identified to check that the make-up and immediate environment suits your business type and profile.
  5. Space – Look at the nature of your business and estimate how much space you will need as a minimum to satisfactorily accommodate your operation which should include external areas whether for storage, loading or parking.
  6. Flexibility – Dependent on your financial budget you may have to be prepared to make some concessions in terms of your preferred wish list of property requirements.   
  7. Feedback – Keep agents informed about what you think of the properties that you receive as this will help them to understand more fully your requirement.
  8. Viewing – On receiving the brochure for a property, and before requesting an internal inspection, complete your research and have a look at the outside of the property.  The world wide web is a wonderful place where you can access numerous sites such as Google Maps (with interactive Street View which enables you to drive down a road on the computer) and Bing Maps with the "bird's eye" feature.
  9. Advice – Obtain professional legal, valuation and property advice before you submit a lease proposal.  You should Identify, understand and protect your short and long term financial exposure.
  10. Landlords – Be aware that it is commercially standard for landlords to require 3 months rent deposit, personal guarantees in the case of Limited companies, and that rents will be payable quarterly in advance. You will be required to provide details of referees which will include your bank, accountant, solicitor and companies with which you trade. Commonly you will be required to pay or contribute towards the landlords legal costs in the transaction including abortive costs.