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Commercial property lettings guide

commercial lettings guide

Letting commercial property can be complicated and time consuming when you don’t know how or what you need to prepare. This guide provides valuable information advising landlords how to make the letting process easier.

1. Accurate valuation

We offer a free, no obligation market appraisal and advise you on how to let your property quickly and at the best possible price. Our valuations are based off current market conditions and demands and take local, key factors into account such as parking, local amenities, transport links etc. Contact Frost commercial or complete our online rental valuation request form.

2. Appoint a commercial letting agent

By appointing The Frost Partnership commercial estate agency we guarantee:

  • Trust. The Frost Partnership has been operating in South Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Middlesex for over 100 years; our testimonials reflect our success and valued reputation in the area.
  • Expertise. We are qualified members of accredited trade body’s such as National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), qualified to provide expert professional services and advice. Read more about our credentials.
  • Exposure. Our network of offices across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Middlesex provides your property with greater local exposure.

3. Marketing your property

Once you appoint The Frost Partnership we will act quickly to prepare the property particulars and take photographs in preparation for marketing your property.

  •  ‘For Rent’ signboards. A signboard outside commercial property is still proven to be one of the best ways to increase local awareness and attention.
  • Your property is instantly sent to active tenants looking for commercial properties like yours through our Property Alerts service.
  • Your property will be featured on our website, and our website is advertised via national and international media publications and property web portals worldwide.
  • We carry out networking, direct marketing and public relation events locally and internationally

The Frost Partnership has specialised in land and property since 1906. Our network of estate agencies across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Middlesex instantly exposes your property to the widest range of potential tenants.

Read more about our commercial lettings service
Contact our commercial team on 01494 680909

4. Preparing property information for tenants

To ensure a quick letting transaction we recommended landlords prepare a comprehensive pack of documents relating to the property for potential tenants to review. Although it is not compulsory to provide this information, if it is available it should be provided to the tenant on their request. Providing this information could result in reduced legal fees by negating requests from tenant’s solicitors seeking the information or simply help let your property quicker.

  • Planning permissions, lawful use certificates and Use Classes
  • Commercial Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Tenants will request to see this information and it is the landlords’ duty to provide an up-to-date EPC when asked. It may also be beneficial to improve the EPC rating on your property, as a lower EPC can result in lower utility bills and might be more attractive to potential tenants. Arrange your EPC.
  • Business rates and reliefs - this is a tenant’s responsibility to pay however information should be provided if it is available
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax on leases - this is the tenant’s responsibility to pay, however information should be provided if available
  • Local searches, this is the responsibility of the tenant, however if you have valid and current searches available, this information could be made available to the tenant.
  • Topographical survey
    • Asbestos survey
    • Ordnance survey
    • Environmental report
    • Site/ground investigation report
  • Detailed plans of the development or property, floor plans etc.
  • Draft contract

5. Commercial property use class

Commercial properties and land are divided into different use class categories by The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 as amended, which determines what business can use the property. It is important to provide your agent and any prospective tenant with all the use classes your commercial property allows - especially if your property already has planning permission to permit a different business use on the premises. The more use classes the property has the wider the range of tenants it will appeal to.

Table 1: Commercial property and use class.

Table 2: Commercial property use class types that can be changed to accommodate other use class types without the need for the landlord to apply for planning permission.

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6. Health and safety for tenants

It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure the property meets legal health and safety standards before the property is let. Health and Safety responsibilities include:

  • Gas safety
  • Electrical equipment checks
  • Fire alarms
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7. Contract and negotiation

As soon as an offer is received we will contact you to communicate the full details of the offer along with any special conditions to help you decide whether or not to accept. There is no obligation to accept the first offer you receive. However, once you have decided to accept an offer, a draft lease or license agreement will be prepared for both parties to approve the nature of the agreement, rental price, terms and proposed timeline of the lease term.

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8. Exchange of contracts

Once both the tenant and the landlord are content with the contract and the required funds have been transferred and accepted by the landlord – the property is let.

9. Schedule of condition

A Schedule of Condition report details the exact condition of the property on the day the tenant moves into it. Generally this entails detailed photographic images that are attached to the lease and acknowledged by both the landlord and tenant. If the property is a new building there is little requirement for the schedule of condition report, for all other properties the schedule of condition can be highly beneficial to protect the tenant and the landlord on expiration of the lease. Since the tenant is obligated to hand the property back to the landlord in good order, fair wear and tear accepted – the schedule of condition report will protect the tenant if the landlord is being unreasonable about releasing the deposit, but it will also protect the landlord if there are unexpected decoration costs or loss of rent while the landlord makes good the premises for re-letting after the tenancy expires.

10. Property management

Managing tenants and property during the lease term can be time consuming. The Frost Partnership property management services include rent reviews, lease renewals, day-to-day management of maintenance issues, dilapidation concerns and many more services. Contact our commercial team or learn more about how our commercial property management services can help you.

Table 1: Commercial property and use class

Publically available information from the Open Government License (Updated 17 Oct 2011)

A1: Shops Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post office (not sorting offices), pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors and Internet cafes
A2: Financial and Professional Services Financial Services such as banks and building societies, professional services (other than health)
A3: Restaurants and Cafes For the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises – restaurants, snack bars and cafes
A4: Drinking Establishments Public houses, Wine bars or Other drinking establishments (but not night clubs).
A5: Hot Food Takeaways For the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises
B1: Businesses Offices (other than those fall within A2 use), Research and development of products and processes, Light industry appropriate in a residential area
B2: General Industrial Use for industrial process other than those fall within class B1 (excluding incineration purposes, chemical treatment or landfill or hazardous waste)
B8: Storage or Distribution Including open-air storage.
C1: Hotels Hotels, boarding and guesthouses where no significant element of care is provided (excludes hostels).
C2: Residential Institutions Residential care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres.
C2A: Secure Residential Institutions Use for a provision of secure residential accommodation, including use as a prison, young offenders institution, detention centre, secure training centre, custody centre, short term holding centre, secure hospital, secure local authority accommodation or use as a military barracks.
C3: Dwelling Houses This class is formed of 3 parts:
C3(a) covers use by a single person or a family (a couple whether married or not, a person related to one another with members of the family of one of the couple to be treated as members of the family of the other), an employer and certain domestic employees (such as an au pair, nanny, nurse, governess, servant, chauffeur, gardener, secretary and personal assistant), a carer and the person receiving the care and a foster parent and foster child.
C3(b): up to six people living together as a single household and receiving care e.g. supported housing schemes such as those for people with learning disabilities or mental health problems.
C3(c) allows for groups of people (up to six) living together as a single household. This allows for those groupings that do not fall within the C4 HMO definition, but which fell within the previous C3 use class, to be provided for i.e. a small religious community may fall into this section as could a homeowner who is living with a lodger.
C4: Houses in Multiple Occupation Small shared dwelling houses occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals, as their only or main residence, who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom.
D1: Non-Residential Institutions Clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, day centres, schools, art galleries (other than for sale or hire), museums, libraries, halls, places of worship, church halls, law court. Non-residential education and training centres.
D2: Assembly and Leisure Cinemas, music and concert halls, bingo and dance halls (but not night clubs), swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums or area for indoor or outdoor sports and recreations (except for motor sports, or where firearms are used).
Sui Generis Certain uses do not fall within any use class and are considered ‘sui generis’. Such uses include: theatres, houses in multiple occupation, hostels providing no significant element of care, scrap yards. Petrol filling stations and shops selling and/or displaying motor vehicles. Retail warehouse clubs, nightclubs, launderettes, taxi businesses, amusement centres and casinos.
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Table 2: Commercial property use class types that can be changed to accommodate other use class types without the need for the landlord to apply for planning permission.

Publically available information from the Open Government License (Updated 17 Oct 2011)

From: To:
A2: Financial and Professional Services (When properties have a display window at ground level) A1: Shops
A3: Restaurant and Cafes

A1: Shops
A2: Financial and Professional Services

A4: Drinking Establishments

A1: Shops
A2: Financial and Professional Services
A3: Restaurants and Cafes

A5: Hot Takeaways

A1: Shops
A2: Financial and Professional Services
A3: Restaurants and Cafes

B1: Businesses (less than 235 sq. m of floor space) B8: Storage and Distribution
B2: General Industrial B1: Businesses
B2: General Industrial (less than 235 sq. m of floor space) B8: Storage and Distribution
B8: Storage and Distribution (less than 235 sq. m of floor space) B1: Businesses
C4: Houses in Multiple Location C3: Dwelling Houses
Casinos D2: Assembly and Leisure
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