Ask the right questions when leasing a commercial property
When leasing a commercial property, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re signing to avoid complications later on.
Understanding your lease
Is the lease long or short term? Decide in advance which would be best for your business to avoid committing to something that may limit your business opportunities in a few years’ time. Check that the property is licensed according to your business needs, or you may need to ask the local authority to change it, which they could refuse to do.
Make sure you understand the terms of your lease termination. Can you renew the lease? Are you allowed to terminate it before the agreed date? Is there a break clause attached? What are your obligations regarding finding new tenants or renovating the property?
Don’t get caught out by the small print – before you sign the agreement, let us review it to ensure there are no hidden pitfalls.
In some commercial lease agreements, the rent you pay will go towards building insurance. Check your agreement carefully to find out if you are covered. It is your responsibility to make sure you have adequate insurance on the building, or you risk liability if it is damaged.
You may also be responsible for carrying out local searches, such as a radon gas/waterways search. It is a good idea to check these thoroughly as they can highlight expensive problems.
Health and safety
It’s important to make sure the building is fully accessible for all your staff, and for your customers. This can range from lifts inside the building to good public transport links. Does the building comply with fire regulations? Are there any hazards? Avoid personal injury claims by ensuring the building is as safe as it can be.