Tenants GUIDE

If you're looking for a commercial property to rent along the A120 from Bishops Stortford to Colchester, as well as neighbouring towns and villages, then look no further. Register with us today to help get on your way to finding a property.

All our properties can also be found on RightMove. From start to finish we’ll be there at every stage to help in your property search. If you are unfamiliar with the renting process the following information gives you a step by step guide. There’s no need to worry, if you need advice or have any questions we will be more than happy to help.

Renting process

Tenants - what should you ask?

Whether you are considering renting your first or tenth commercial unit, here are some wise questions to ask the agent showing you around so nothing crops up further down the transaction…

1. What is the rateable value?

Like we pay council tax for our residential homes, business rates are payable for commercial properties. Each property has a rateable value, which can be found by contacting the local council or visiting the www.2010.voa.gov.uk website. You can then work out the business rates by multiplying the rateable value with the multiplier for that year. Business rate relief can be available for some companies and properties, so it is worth speaking to the local council.

2. Proposed use – is a change of use required?

You need to know that your proposed use is in line with the current planning consent on the property. In some instances a change of use will automatically be allowed but in other cases a new application will be required. We can advise accordingly.

3. Is there a Service charge?

Generally speaking, a service charge is payable when your unit is part of a larger business or industrial park. A service charge typically covers maintenance of the external communal areas including landscaping, and cleaning of communal areas. It is worth finding out what the charge covers and how it is payable.

4. Who pays the building insurance?

In almost every case the landlord will insure the ‘bricks and mortar’ and recharge the cost to the tenant once a year. Check if this cost is included in the service charge. Tenants will have to provide their own contents insurance.

5. Is there any allocated parking?

Whilst this will typically be advertised, the parking area will need to be included on the lease plan showing your available spaces. If there is no or limited parking with the unit, it would be worth exploring other options that may be available such as permit parking, or speaking with local companies.

6. What length of lease is the landlord looking for?

Whilst normally you will be looking at a 3-5 year lease, there are some instances where the landlord would ask for 10+ years. Whilst it can be daunting to be tied in for so many years, it may be possible to implement break clauses into the agreement. Having said that, it can be beneficial to take a longer length lease to avoid having to go through the sometimes costly legal process every few years. Although at the same time a longer lease will incur a high stamp duty Land Tax. This is something your solicitor can advise on.

7. How long has the property been on the market?

It is important to remember that in commercial property, there will likely be a period of time that the unit is empty. However, if a property has been on the market for over 12 months, the landlord may be more inclined to offer incentives for new tenants such as a rent free period or reduced rent for the first year. However, as the market starts to pick up and competition for property increases, these incentives may not be easily achieved.

8. What are the repairing obligations?

On most short term leases on second hand properties the tenants repairing obligations will be limited by a photographic schedule of condition which records the state of the property. In some instances the repairing obligations may be more onerous – something that needs to be considered carefully.

9. Will I need to provide a deposit?

This is dependent on the property, the company and the landlord. If you are a fairly new business, you will likely be asked to provide a rental deposit, usually to the sum of 3-6 months’ rent. When you are starting out this is an important factor as it can be a large upfront sum of money. The landlord may also ask for references from your bank, accountant and current landlord (if applicable).

10. Who pays the legal fees?

9 times out of 10 each party will pay their own legal fees. However, there can be instances where the landlord asks for an agreement to pay their legal fees should the letting not complete, or the landlord might want a contribution to the fees. Check this out, as again it is another factor to take into account.  Solicitors will normally agree to a fixed fee assuming it is a fairly straightforward letting.

11. When can I move in?

Once you have made an offer that the landlord accepts, the agent involved will draw up some Heads of Terms outlining the agreement. Once approved by both parties (this usually only takes a few days), solicitors can be instructed and the landlords solicitors will prepare the draft contract. Depending on the complexity of the agreement, this is the stage that will normally take from 4-8 weeks. Keeping on top of the process and checking for updates can sometimes help to speed up the process.

We always encourage potential tenants to make an offer, but when you do make sure you provide as much information as possible about your company to prove to the landlord that you will be able to meet the terms of the agreement.

If you need any further advice or guidance, please do not hesitate to contact our commercial team on 01376 322222 ext 3. We are happy to help!