Biz Extra

Frettens’ Ben Cobb answers your questions on preparing a commercial property to let

By Ben Cobb [email protected]

Published: January 29, 2024 | Updated: 29th January 2024

Whether you’ve let out your commercial property before or are new to it, the process can be quite complex.

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That’s why, in this Q&A, Frettens’ own Commercial Property Expert Ben Cobb has outlined how to prepare your property for letting from your obligations to finding a tenant and completion.

What is the duty of care of a commercial landlord?

Commercial landlords have a general duty of care to ensure that the property is safe for their tenant and anyone else who uses the property, such as suppliers making deliveries.

However, this responsibility can be passed to the tenant depending on the wording on the lease and whether the tenant has taken a lease of whole or part, so you should always check the lease first.

Related: Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance in commercial leases?

What are the obligations of a landlord in commercial property?

What a commercial landlord is and isn’t responsible for depends on the type and terms of the lease.

You may be responsible for the below:

  • Maintaining and repairing the property, including its fixtures and fittings
  • Compliance with building and safety regulations (e.g. fire safety, gas safety, electrical safety, asbestos etc.)
  • Insurance
  • Energy efficiency
  • Heating and air conditioning

Again, depending on the lease, some of these responsibilities may fall to the tenant.

Find out exactly what your responsibilities are in our dedicated article here.

What certificates must a commercial landlord provide to its tenant before granting a lease?

A tenant’s solicitor would usually request the following on any letting:

  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Asbestos report (if required);
  • Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) (if required);
  • Gas safety certificates (if required);
  • Fire risk assessment (if required);
  • A copy of your option to tax (if VAT is payable on the rent);
  • Any planning documentation or correspondence with the local authority you may have.

What are the EPC requirements for commercial property in 2023?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) rate a property on a scale from A (highest) to G (lowest), based on its energy efficiency.

As of 2023, a commercial property must hold a valid EPC rating of E or above in order to be let out to a tenant.

If you don’t meet this rating, you would be required to undertake works to improve the rating before being able to let it.

Find out more about EPCs and the upcoming changes to them here.

How long does it take to prepare a commercial lease?

How long is a piece of string! If both parties are motivated and the solicitors are engaged, the process can be completed as quickly as 3-4 weeks.

However, if the tenant is undertaking legal due diligence, the process may be a bit longer and would typically take 6-8 weeks if both parties act quickly.

For a tailored estimate on how long your lease may take to prepare, you get in touch with our specialist team here.

In the full article, Ben looks at the legal process involved in letting a property, how to find and attract tenants, the terms you need to include in an agreement and more. Click here to read it.

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