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property in a certain location.
This is where an organisation owns the land and the building where their
business is. Unless property is a primary business concern or the
organisation is well established (those that have remained from the late
1800 early 1900s), most companies do not own their freehold due to the
A leasehold gives you the right of possession, but not ownership, of a
property for an agreed period of time.
When you hold a leasehold on a property, it remains the property of the
freeholder. A leasehold is usually for a fixed period of time, and it will
set out details of obligations of the leaseholder for repairs and
maintenance of the property.
To rent office space:
The pattern of property tenure may be complex. It is not always a simple
matter of a tenant taking a lease direct from the property owner.
If you, as a prospective tenant, are taking a lease on a building you
might be negotiating a new lease with the freeholder. On the other hand
you might be entering the chain lower down and taking an assignment of an
existing lease, or perhaps a sub-lease.
With the new lease
you should be able to negotiate the terms to match your requirements. With
an existing lease you will be bound by the conditions that it already
contains (you decide before signing whether you can live with these or
In managed offices:
This is where a company rents office space from an agent. The agent (and
not the owner) is then responsible for managing the building. This entails
collecting rent and dealing with any problems that can occur (such as
broken lifts / heating / plumbing problems). For the tenant, effectively
the agent is the landlord.
If you occupy your business premises as a tenant, the lease document
provides the opportunity for the rent to be reviewed at intervals: often
every three to five years. There is inevitable scope for disagreement on
the level of the new rent and a chartered surveyor, with an intimate
knowledge of the property market, has a vital role to play in advising and
possibly representing you. You need to be sure that you comply – and in
good time – with the various steps required by the rent review process. If
you fail to do so, the rent the landlord is asking for may automatically
It can be a worrying and uncertain time for business tenants when a lease
comes close to expiry. Although it can also be a time of opportunity. You
may be able to renew the lease on better terms or you may be able to move
to more suitable premises.
The expiry of a lease does not
normally mean that you have to move out of your existing premises unless
you want to, because the law generally gives security of tenure to
business tenants (although, there are exceptions). But if you want to
exercise your right to a new lease there are vital steps you must take
within prescribed time limits.
In addition to rent, there are certain other regular payments that you as
tenant may need to make to the landlord. Particularly where you occupy
only part of a larger building, the landlord may charge you a portion of
the service costs that he or she supplies the building as a whole:
maintenance of common areas, decoration and maintenance of the buildings
exterior and the like. This will generally be described as a service
It is important to ensure, before signing the
lease, that you understand the basis on which service charges will be
calculated and the likely sums involved.
potential premises and matching these to business needs:
Think the process through logically. The best sequence may be:
· Decide on location. If you get this wrong there is no way of correcting
your mistake except by moving again! If your business is in manufacturing,
ease of access to sources of raw materials and your markets may be
essential. If you are running a shop, it should clearly be in a location
where the public have easy access. For cost reasons you may have to accept
· You need to consider your business strategy, the number of people you
will be employing, the processes used in the business and the
plant/machinery required. The type and location of property required for a
manufacturing business with heavy plant will be different from that
required for a software or distribution business. Consider also your
ongoing plans. Should you ensure at the outset that there is space for
expansion or will you rely on a move to larger premises at a later date as
the business expands? Think about the quality of the workspace environment
and how this may impact staff and their productivity. All of these
considerations must be thought through before you make a final choice
about your premises.
· Next, prepare a specification of the
premises you want. Sketch out a plan on graph paper, detailing your
requirements. From this you can calculate the floor area you need. Do not
forget car parking and loading and unloading facilities. And remember your
utilities requirements – what power supplies will your processes require,
what telecommunications facilities, for example?
other key decision you have to make at the outset is whether you will be
purchasing or leasing the premises.
· Calculate how much
you can afford to pay in outgoings on the premises whether you buy or
lease. In addition to rent or mortgage repayments you will need to allow
for general rates, water rates, service charge for the maintenance and
cleaning of common areas and the buildings insurance.
find a surveyor call RICS contact centre on 0870 333 1600 or log on to our
website on www.rics.org .