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 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. Consider moving soon
Since early 2009, the office market in many towns and cities has been significantly depressed in terms of pricing and volume of deals. Act now to secure the best deal.
8. Don’t forget your old lease!
It would be easy to forget your 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 relet.
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.
Gary Dunger is a commercial property solicitor at SA Law.
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