Given the current commercial property climate, Carter Jonas is advising that now, more than ever, any business thinking about taking up new premises should get representation from an agent from the outset.
According to Carter Jonas, too many businesses often focus on the headline terms of a lease, which may look good when the business is prospering and trading circumstances are favourable but underlying terms can often prove very expensive for the unwary, un-represented tenant.
When rents or service charges rise during the lifetime of a lease, the default option for many tenants is to blame the landlord yet the details of a lease are open to the scrutiny of the prospective tenant or his or her agent before entering into any agreement.
A commercial agent’s market knowledge acts as a ‘sanity check’ on a rent. In addition to negotiating a more favourable headline rent, an agent will consider other details of a lease such as rent-free clauses, options covering sub-leasing and service charge provisions.
An understanding of the minutiae of service charges and obligations should not be underestimated and may prove invaluable to the prosperity or even the survival of a business when trading circumstances are not favourable.
Many agents are retained by clients on an ongoing basis to keep a watching brief for leasehold or freehold opportunities. Like all industry insiders, a good agent will know what is coming on-stream well before its availability is in the public domain.
Duncan Quig, Head of Commercial Agency at Carter Jonas in Cambridge, said:
“At the most obvious level, employing a local agent will take the legwork out of out of searching for premises, leaving the occupier to focus on their core business.
“More importantly, an agent can guide an occupier through the lease process and secure, where possible, cost saving terms which, in turn, more than covers an agent’s fees.”