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Survey Hub’s Essential Guide to Buying or Renting a Commercial Property

Don’t get caught out when signing a new lease or purchasing a property – our guide on how to avoid common commercial property pitfalls.

Whether you are buying a commercial property or signing a new leasing, it is essential that you make sure you know exactly what you are taking on and any potential liabilities that come with the property. When you are about to sign that all important contract, you cannot simply rely on the assurances of a landlord or manager dealing with the transaction. Your own independent advice is essential alongside a few key supporting documents and reports.

The vital reports we recommend that you request (or undertake yourself) before signing on the dotted line, include:

  • Asbestos Survey – too often we see tenants liable for removing or remediating asbestos in a property that they were not aware was present before signing the lease. This could have far reaching health and damaging financial implications.
  • Building Condition Survey – a pre-acquisition survey to ascertain if the property has any fundamental issues or defects such as subsidence and highlight potential costs of dealing with those issues/general building repairs and more.
  • Commercial EPC – legal requirement of every sale or letting and should be provided by the seller or landlord. Ratings below an E may have an impact on the future rentability of the property and its value.
  • Fire Risk Assessment – when you take on a property, you become liable for the safety of the people who enter the building, whether that be employees or members of the public. Understanding any potential risks to life is not something you want to miss from a vital pre-signing check list. Costs to put a high-risk property right, could be many thousands of pounds.
  • Schedule of Condition – this applies if you are taking on a new lease and documents the current state of the property at the point you take occupation, ideally supported by a good number of photos. This report will be key when the tenancy comes to an end and you are discussing dilatation’s with the landlord.

A word of caution from our senior asbestos surveyor, Chris Firth:

“It’s an all too familiar story. No asbestos register or survey has been found, you sign the contract in a hurry and prior to your refurbishment and the contractor requests an asbestos survey before starting work. Unfortunately, you discover a large amount of asbestos which must be removed before work commences, and you are landed with a very large bill.

Not only have you now got a unexpected and untimely cost, you also have delays in your project which will further impact your tight budget. But most worrying of all there, is the potential that staff and contractors could have been accidentally exposed to asbestos fibres.

Here at Survey Hub, we can react very quickly and complete your asbestos management or refurbishment survey in a very short space of time. At the same time, we can carry out your EPC and Fire risk assessment – along with other essential reports – ensuring your project stays on track, and on budget.”

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