Paul Matthews, Partner explains why you should look at making some property resolutions this year.
All predictions are that the market is picking up and that should colour the resolutions you make. For a leaseholder that means getting your rent review completed early.
In an improving market the longer you leave finalising your rent the more likely conditions are to be in the landlords favour. We find landlords are being more bullish and optimistic about the future than in recent years.
If your business plan includes implementing a break clause, check the drafting in the lease early so that the notice date is not missed and you have time to comply with any conditions.
For those paying business rates a good resolution is to check when you last appealed – and has anything changed since then, either on your property or in the immediate area, e.g. traffic changes or development. Many people are paying too much in rates because they don’t regularly review factors that may influence their rates bill.
Another resolution is on repairing your building. The winter weather always takes its toll on buildings so why not put in the diary to have repairs identified in March when the worst of the winter blasts are over and scheduled to be completed in the middle of the year – when tradesmen are available and costs can be kept lower. Too many people leave minor repairs that soon turn into big problems or lead to losses when you want to move out and have to make big repairs to a building you will not benefit from.
Resolve to take a more strategic view of your property in 2014. Retail property owners should look at alternative uses for their premises, following changes in planning legislation. Do you have room to grow your business? Is there any empty space you can make more use of?
The final resolution is aimed at those who have a plan to move into new premises. That resolution is again to act early. It always takes longer than you think to move and despite all the reports it is not that easy to find the perfect premises!
The typical business move takes between three and six months to complete so if your idea is to be in new, larger or smaller premises by next Christmas then you really do have to start doing something in the first quarter of 2014.
Most small and medium sized businesses do not have a dedicated member of staff looking at their building issues so getting the right advice from property professionals is vital.