Top 10 tips for finding new business premises

Fri 22nd Apr 2016

From finding the right new premises, to fitting out your new premises, we have ten top tips to help finding new business premises as painless as possible.

The future success of a business can be significantly influenced by finding the right premises, at the right price and in the right place. So how should you go about it?

  1. Start planning early – Finding premises and securing the right deal can take many months. You then need to allow at least two months to deal with the legal process. The closer your moving deadline is, the harder it will be to secure the premises you want on your terms.
  2. Don’t try and do it all yourself – It may seem cheaper in the short term, but beware: local market knowledge is key. A property consultant’s experience in finding property and negotiating terms for tenants and buyers should be able to secure you a better deal. Ensure you consult with professionals on the terms of your lease.
  3. View a number of properties – Even if the first property you see ticks all the right boxes, you should look at what else is available. You may find something cheaper but even if that doesn’t suit your requirements, having other options may give you more leverage to get a better deal on the space you want if the seller or landlord thinks they are competing for your business.
  4. Get a survey – Whether you buy a property or take a lease, you mostly do so at your own risk in the deemed knowledge of its condition and any defects, often with little come-back against the landlord or seller. It is up to you to ensure you are satisfied with the property –make sure you have any appropriate surveys carried out before you exchange contracts.
  5. Instruct a solicitor – Your solicitor will ensure that the main terms you have agreed are reflected in the final documentation, but they will also seek to minimise your liabilities, as the documentation drafted by the landlord’s or seller’s solicitor will often be weighted in their favour. Your solicitor will also ensure that you know what your responsibilities are and will make appropriate searches and enquiries to ensure, for example, that the property benefits from the correct planning permission.
  6. You will need to fit out the property – It’s rare that you will find a property that doesn’t need any alteration before you occupy it. Not only do you need to build in time to deal with your IT installation and fit-out, you may need building regulations approval for works and, if letting, separate consent to carry out alterations under the terms of your lease from your landlord.
  7. Think about total lease costs – How much a lease is going to cost you is not all about the headline rent. Some landlords will offer an inclusive rental that may include matters such as business rates, utilities, insurance and/or maintenance charges, if not then some or all of those items will be payable in addition and could add substantial sums to the overall cost to you. Of particular importance is to consider the service charge budget for the building/estate and the percentage which you will have to pay. It is worth trying to negotiate a service charge cap as without this your potential liability is unlimited.
  8. Don’t forget your old lease! – It would be easy to forget your existing responsibilities. Break notices, should you need to serve one before you quit your premises, are usually very time specific and all leases contain repairing obligations stipulating the condition in which you must leave the premises when you move out. If you fail to comply, this could leave you with a hefty dilapidations payment or even paying rent until the premises are in a condition that the landlord can re-let. In the case of an invalid break notice, then not being able to move at all!
  9. Market your move – Remember to make the most of your move, a move to new premises is the ideal time to put yourself in the minds of your customers and clients and send out a positive impression of the business and its growth.
  10. Think about your staff – Moving premises also raises legal issues in relation to your employees, it is important to consult an employment specialist to minimise the risk of any move infringing upon employees’ rights or breaching terms of employment contracts.