Buying a Pub – 5 Essentials You Need To Know Before You Take The Plunge!

buying a pubWith pubs currently shutting at the rate of 52 a week, you would think that now was not a good time to consider buying  a pub but to counter the first statistic, gastro pubs are opening at the rate of 4 a month at the moment. Read the rest of this entry »

Commercial Property London: Key Areas For Business

Commercial Property LondonLondon, the capital city of the United Kingdom, has always had a strong strategic advantage over other cities.  With its position in the time zones, it is able to do business with both East Coast and West Coast of America, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.  This has made London a key financial market in the world and an ideal place for Commercial Property London.   It was feared that the credit crunch and banking collapse would mean London lost its significant but with the return of huge bonuses and the announcement of record profits, it appears that London’s position as a key financial centre has been reinstated.

London also remains a key place for global businesses to have an office or outlet.   So there is considerable global competition for new office space in both the City and the West End.

Read the rest of this entry »

Commercial Property Insurance: Top 5 Questions

Commercial Property InsuranceCommercial property insurance is a highly technical area and needs to be grasped by freehold owners, landlords and tenants and occupiers alike.

For freehold owners, it is just a question of making sure that the right risks are covered. These include the usual commercial risks but also third party liability. If the premises are in inner city area terrorism insurance should also be included. You need to get the advice of a surveyor or valuer to ensure that the reinstatement value is accurate. Read the rest of this entry »

Buying commercial property

buying commercial propertyIf you are buying commercial property what should you bear in mind? What are the most important factors to have taken into account before purchasing commercial property in England and Wales?

Caveat emptor (“Buyer beware”)

This principle is fundamental in English Law.   The seller is not obliged to disclose physical defects in a commercial property.  It is for the buyer to employ a surveyor to carry out a buildings survey so that the buyer is aware of any defects in the property such as subsidence, landslip and heave, damp, flooding, poor insulation, structural defects.  The surveyor will also highlight whether alterations appear to have been carried out to the property which might have needed planning permission or building regulation approval.    He will highlight issues which need to be investigated by your solicitor as part of the conveyancing process such as rights of way, asbestos survey, fire risk assessment, energy performance certificates (see below for further detail). Read the rest of this entry »

Commercial Rental Property

Commercial Rental PropertyIn large cities if a business needs to take space it will invariably be a lease which is available which brings me onto commercial rental property.  It is rare for freeholds to be available at affordable prices.   It is the preserve of investors, wealthy landowners and financial institutions looking for secure rental income.   Most businesses will be looking at commercial rental property.   So what are the disadvantages of rental property as opposed to freehold properties?

Commercial Rental properties are granted for varying terms.  25 year leases used to be the norm.  This was the length of a so-called “institutional lease” ie. A lease which would be suitable as an investment vehicle for a financial institution.  However, the length has been steadily decreasing and the recent credit crunch has given potential tenants the bargaining strength and brought rental terms crashing down.

Most tenants are now looking for no more than a 5 to 10 year commitment and sometimes they want shorter break options within that term.   In strict terms a lease should only be regarded as the length to the earliest break option.  So if a 10 year lease contains a tenant’s break option at year 3, then this should be regarded as a 3 year lease.  The tenant may not exercise his break but you cannot rely on more than 3 years rental income as a landlord.   There is a glut of office premises in most cities especially the secondary properties ie. Not new built offices but existing offices.   Landlords are open to negotiation.

So what terms should a tenant be seeking in the current climate? Read the rest of this entry »

Commercial Property Auctions

commercial property auctionsBuying at commercial property auctions is exciting.  The thought of finding a bargain snatched from under the noses of the other bidders is what attracts people to auctions.  Is it that easy?

There are a few things the uninitiated should be aware of when bidding for commercial property at auction.

When the hammer falls you are contractually bound to buy the property

When the auctioneer brings his gavel down and says sold to the gentleman in the corner, a contract has been made between the bidder and the seller of the property.  This is a binding contract and obliges the buyer (the successful bidder) to first of all pay over the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) there and then in the auction room.  It also contractually obliges the bidder to complete the purchase on the completion date specified in the auction conditions which are usually set out at the back of the auction catalogue.   This means the other 90% of the purchase price is payable usually within 30 days of the date of the auction.

So what does this mean?  Read the rest of this entry »

How To Choose Commercial Property Agents

Commercial Property AgentsYou need to find a tenant for the new office you have just finished refurbishing and so you go on the internet looking for Commercial Property Agents.  You are instantly assaulted with thousands of companies offering properties throughout the UK and abroad.  Often the agents are offering the same properties, so how do you choose which commercial property agent to use?   Here are some key things to look for when choosing an agent.

Initial Negotiations: Offers and Counter-offers

A good commercial property agent should guide the commercial landlord or commercial vendor as to the terms to offer tenants before the property is put on the market but often the property is offered as a lease or for sale and the agents will wait for offers to come in and then negotiate with the buyers.  So it is a good idea to set out your worst and best position to the agent in terms of sale price or rent so that the agent does not come back with an offer which just does not work commercially.   The negotiation will go back and forth with the tenant or purchaser making an offer and the agent going back to the Landlord or Seller with a steer as to whether the offer is realistic fair or not competitive.    If you are new to the world of commercial property then the good agent will not use jargon and will not try to patronise you but will guide you through the process providing explanations in plain English of any technical terms being discussed and there is plenty of jargon in this area. Read the rest of this entry »

Buy Commercial Property and Avoid Top 4 Mistakes That Destroy Value

Buy Commercial PropertyWhat should you be looking for when you buy commercial property?   Here are our top 4 tips to look out for when looking to buy commercial property.

1. Avoid onerous restrictive covenants

If you are looking to redevelop property or change the use of commercial property, then it is vital that you check the title for restrictive covenants.  If the title is registered (and most property is registered at the Land Registry), then for a small charge (£8.00) you can search the Land Registry records by property description or even postcode and obtain a copy of the registered title to any property in England and Wales.

You then need to look at the Charges Register which sets out all of the rights and covenants which the property is subject to.    The entries in the Charges Register will tell you if the property is subject to restrictive covenants which might affect your ability to redevelop or change the use of the property you are looking to buy.   Some of these restrictive covenants are extremely old and are worded in quaint language but they can still affect properties despite their antiquity.

So what happens if the property you are interested in buying has restrictive covenants preventing the property say, from being used other than a single residential dwellinghouse and you want to turn into a block of flats or want to sell off the large back garden as a separate house plot.    Read the rest of this entry »

What to look for when choosing property solicitors

Property SolitorsThere is very little you can do about it,  if you want to take a lease or buy a commercial property, you are going to need the services of property solicitors.   However, what should you be looking for when you are choosing which property solicitor to use.

Fixed Fee

The majority of commercial property solicitors would provide an estimate of their fees at the outset of the transaction and qualify this estimate with words along the lines “provided the matter proceeds to completion without undue complication, protracted negotiations or additional documentation”.  These words cover a multitude of sins.   Read the rest of this entry »

6 things you should know before doing a commercial property let

commercial property let

6 vital things you should know before you do a Commercial Property Let

Letting commercial property should be simple.  You have a premises.  You contact the letting agent. He puts up the letting board and draws up the Letting Particulars and that’s it job done. However, there are many things you need to know before you can carry out your commercial property let in the UK.

1. Energy Performance Certificates

It is a legal requirement that the landlord produces at his expense an energy performance certificate showing the energy efficiency of the building that is being let.  Commercial EPC’s are much more expensive than residential.  Whereas a residential EPC might cost £45, a commercial EPC could be as much as £300 to £400 depending on the size of the property. It is Trading Standards who enforce the regulations relating to EPCs and fines have been levied for landlords who have not obtained an EPC before letting.   Complaints might be lodged by a disgruntled potential tenant who was outbid by another tenant, for example.  So this really is not something you can ignore when undertaking your commercial property let. Read the rest of this entry »

Dominic Beeton, Solicitor
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