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Is your business property in order? Part 1

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Given the current uncertainty around the exact terms and implications of Brexit, it is probably even more important for businesses to ensure that their property paperwork is in order, to future proof against all eventualities.

Although business sales, buy outs, expansions or contractions may not be on your current agenda, it is surprising the number of opportunities which are lost due to unsatisfactory paperwork. Although you may be muddling along and relying on the good relationship you have with your landlord, it is important to remember that landlords can sell their buildings or die, leaving you to deal with new people who may not be as accommodating.  

There are, however, ways that you can try and protect yourself and your business from unforeseen circumstances and things which you can do to enhance your position should an unexpected opportunity arise.

In a 3 part series we look at some of the important points to consider:

Documenting Rights of Occupation

  • If you own the property personally, granting a lease or licence to the business will enable you to:
    • charge rent
    • reduce the risk of any adverse rights of occupation being acquired
    • sell the freehold
    • sell your business
  • If you have a separate landlord it is important to ensure that:
    • the terms of your occupation are binding on anyone who buys or inherits the landlord’s interest
    • the landlord’s obligations and tenant’s obligations are clearly defined
    • there is evidence of the business’s rights
  • It is also important to:
    • check whether your lease has been registered
    • establish whether any Stamp Duty Land Tax was due and paid

Managing Restrictions on Use

  • If you are working on the dining room table or in an out building or converted garage at home, or if your business has diversified or grown since you initially took on your business space:
    • you may be in breach of restrictive covenants in your lease and/or on the title
    • the planning permission may restrict or prevent this use
    • the additional traffic and/or noise resulting from your business and the arrival of any employees, clients or customers at your property may annoy the neighbours and, potentially, lead to a dispute
  • You could consider relocating or one of the many flexible workspace options available as an alternative or to supplement your current arrangements such as:
    • short term lets
    • serviced offices
    • meeting room spaces available for hire

If you have any queries or would like us to assist you to resolve any matters or to deal with a potential transaction, please do not hesitate to contact us.  Next week we will consider issues relating to alterations and disposing of your property.

This article is not a definitive statement of the law. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. It is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no liability or responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.