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All you need to know about business premises leases

Aug 11, 2015

Taking on a lease for a business premises is a big commitment to make. It is important to be clear about what the lease contains, your responsibilities, those of your landlord and any exemptions from the lease that you should be aware of.

First and foremost, you should be sure that the property you are leasing is in good condition as usually you will be responsible for the upkeep of the property. You may want to consider getting a survey done before you sign the lease agreement.

You should consider the length of the lease you are taking out. There are advantages and disadvantages to both longer and shorter leases. You will probably pay a higher premium for a shorter lease and if you decide to go for a longer lease you should ensure that you have the option of a break clause. This is usually half way through the lease and allows you to leave with no penalties. You should also ask your landlord to consider adding a subletting clause that would allow you to find another tenant to take on the property if you wanted to leave early.

The location of your business premises is important both for your customers, if they need to visit you, and for your employees. Be clear about your business needs and research suitable areas to compare lease costs so you can find a property in a suitable area within your budget.

Factor in other costs such as your legal fees, rental costs, service charges, insurance (contents and buildings) and utilities. Service charges are likely to include electricity, maintenance and cleaning in shared areas and any other costs not covered in your lease rent. You should also factor in the cost of your business rates – you can find details of any exemptions or rates relief on the YouGov website.

Check for any restrictions in your lease on the use of them building – if there are restrictions on your business operating there you could consider applying for a change of use but this can be costly, time consuming and you may not get the outcome you want.

Hire an experienced commercial property solicitor to review the lease, but always check through it yourself.

If you would like advice about taking on a commercial property lease Christopher Taylor will be happy to help. You can contact him on the telephone on 01264 325815 or by email on ctaylor@bsandi.co.uk


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