‘Examine your firm’s needs when renewing your lease’

COMMERCIAL property experts are warning business owners against making knee-jerk decisions when it comes to renewing leases.

The latest edition of the RICS Commercial Property Survey revealed a fall in occupier enquiries, creating a buyers’ market across the country as a whole.

Although there are local differences in the supply versus demand equation, David Potter, operations director for chartered surveyors group RICS in the east of England, believes the fundamentals remain the same.

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Mr Potter, pictured, says it is important to take a long hard look at both the current requirements of a business and likely future needs.

Mr Potter said: “As in most walks of life, knee-jerk reactions are rarely the best and the key to the right decision lies in a careful, considered approach.

“In many ways, the commercial property market favours tenants. If the existing premises fit the needs of the business for the anticipated term of any new or extended lease, then tenants should find themselves in a fairly strong position to re-negotiate terms. Areas for discussion will include not just the rental but also refurbishments and upgrades to common parts and services. Landlords may see some contribution towards the above as a fair return for the security of another five or 10-year lease.”

He added: “Where staff numbers or space requirements have changed, it will be important to think about whether such adjustments are short, medium or long term.”

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He warned that moving is a costly business and it is prudent to think widely when calculating costs.

He said: “There may be a need for building modifications, new IT systems, furnishings and, of course, an office move also means such things as re-printing business stationery.”