A top commercial property solicitor in Warrington has provided key advice for businesses in the region when it comes to renting, selling or leasing.
It comes on the back of a prediction for 2018 for the commercial property market in the town by a leading estate agent.
Callum Morgan, assistant surveyor at Morgan Williams, believes warehousing and offices, which both enjoyed a strong 2017, will continue to improve over the next 12 months.
He said: “The on-going redevelopment of the town centre last year is set to continue in 2018 and, in particular, the £107 million Time Square scheme is advancing rapidly, all aiding the ‘recovery’ of the town centre.
“In addition, in 2017, Warrington saw an expansion in the residential sector in the town centre with many office buildings converted to residential accommodation and we predict that during 2018 this will continue.”
The active commercial property market in the region means many businesses and landlords could be seeking guidance on a number of key areas.
Kerry Baird is a solicitor at Watson Solicitors, a leading solicitors firm in Warrington, and she is keen to ensure all parties are aware of their rights and adhering to the law.
Here are her top tips for some of the most common topics of interest. If you have any questions about the below, or any other commercial property matter, please call 01925 571 212 or email Kerry.Baird@watsonssolicitors.com.
What general advice do you have for anyone involved with commercial property?
Everyone’s knowledge about commercial property is different, and there is always a piece of information you may not know, have forgotten, or not thought about. For example:
- Is it a new start up that needs a short lease or frequent break clauses to leave premises without liability if the business falters?
- If the planning permission you require is not in place would an Agreement for Lease work for you so the landlord is committed to give the lease to you but only if you get planning. If not you’re not bound.
- If you’re a tenant, are there any incentives available such as a reduced rent period?
- Do your research. For example, can you take advantage of incentives in regeneration areas, or from improvements in the local road networks like Centre Park Link or the planned Warrington Western link road?
What advice do you have for purchasing commercial property?
Use the knowledge and experience of your commercial property agent, and get a full structural survey. Another very important point is to ensure the planning use/permissions you require are in place before you exchange contracts.
What advice do you have leasing?
We often see parties entering leases without legal advice. This could leave a tenant not fully understanding their obligations for repair, registration, or whether they’ve ‘contracted out’ of security of business tenure.
Or for a new landlord, it could result in them not realising the tenant is entitled to stay beyond the end of the term.
We can ensure you are fully appraised whether a landlord or tenant, and, with advice, more favourable terms could be negotiated.
What advice do you have for selling?
Take the advice of an experienced local commercial property agent about value. Make your property as attractive as possible – for example, can you increase the value or appeal by applying for additional planning permissions? Get your paperwork up to date and ensure you are compliant where relevant, for example commercial EPC, fire risk assessment, and asbestos management report.
What are the common pitfalls to avoid?
We know leases over seven years must be registered, but a tenant without advice may not. This can have implications to the business if you wish to borrow money when the lender requires a secured charge, or if you would like to assign or sub-let to another.
In addition, everyone knows stamp duty may be payable when buying a property, but it can be payable when you enter into a lease too.
Is there anything else that’s important to know?
A contentious area can be dilapidations at the end of a lease term. We advise parties to agree a Schedule of Condition prior to entering into a lease because this can assist when dealing with dilapidations at the end of the term. A commercial estate agent can prepare this document for you.