Commercial Property Transactions – A Legal Overview

Commercial property sales and rentals are major transactions for the parties involved. Getting things right from a legal perspective is essential.  We provide a summary of the key elements of the process along with some tips and guidance.

Identifying Premises or Target Market

A number of factors determine what types of business commercial premises are suitable for. Those considering renting or buying premises must ensure they are compatible with their planned business operations. It is also in the interests of landlords and sellers of commercial premises to be aware of the kinds of businesses suited to buying or renting their property.

Commercial properties fall into planning classes determining the use of the building (eg. A1 for a shop, A4 for a pub). Businesses are subject to regulations regarding facilities like fire escapes and disabled toilets that they have on their premises and so the property must be consistent with this. The premises may also be subject to restrictive covenants affecting their use.

Renting

Commercial premises can be rented through a license or a lease. A license allows the landlord to come and go to the property as they please and can normally be terminated at very short notice by either party. A lease gives the business exclusive possession of the premises, meaning the landlord can only enter for specified purposes such as making repairs. A lease normally lasts for a period of several years with the parties having to pay compensation if they terminate early.

Lease agreements must be very carefully drafted and checked by both parties. Lease relationships typically last for several years and so there is a high potential for disputes. Some of the key issues to be aware of are the division of responsibility for repairs and maintenance; method for determining rent increases; and the process for terminating the lease early.

Buying and Selling

Once a buyer has identified suitable premises, they will make an offer. This is subject to satisfactory due diligence checks and to their obtaining financing for the purchase. The parties may make a “lockout” agreement. The seller promises not to negotiate with other parties while the buyer is making due diligence checks, and the buyer commits to paying a financial penalty if they do not go through with the purchase once due diligence has been satisfactorily completed.

The due diligence process consists of the buyer (through their solicitor and advisers) checking that the premises are what they appear to be and that there are no nasty surprises. So, for example, they would review the seller’s title documents; surveyors and environmental reports; and restrictive covenants and planning rules affecting the property.

Once due diligence is complete the parties can exchange signed contracts and the buyer pays the deposit. The purchase then becomes legally binding. A completion date is arranged on which the buyer pays the outstanding purchase price and stamp duty, and registers their ownership at the land registry.

Commercial property transactions are complex and have lasting consequences for both parties. It is strongly advisable to use the services of a solicitor at all stages of the process.

You can learn more about the laws surrounding commercial property by clicking the logo below to visit Contact Law:

Commercial Property Transactions

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Renting Executive Suites can save you Money

How Renting Executive Suites can save your company Money

Executive suites have been around for years, but the changing shape of businesses brought about in part by the current financial situation means there are more entrepreneurs and small businesses than before who are more likely to save money by renting executive suites. The owners or managers of these offices own or rent a large office space but then sublet out individual offices or workspaces from this space to businesses that don’t need an entire office. The type of businesses who usually use executive suites are small companies or companies just beginning to grow. Because of the short leases usually associated with executive suites, they are great for growing businesses that aren’t yet sure of how much space they will need in the future and so don’t want to commit to a larger office.

There are a number of advantages of an executive suite over a regular office rental, but the main benefit is the money saved. Because the offices are in a shared office space with other companies, the overheads are much lower due to savings on services such as electricity and heating as this cost will be met by all and usually included in the price. There will also be less start up costs as most executive suites are fully furnished, a cost which can be hard to afford for some small and new businesses. As well as energy, other facilities are also included in the price such as meeting rooms, conference rooms, photocopiers, posting facilities and a kitchen. And because these services are already included in the price, businesses will know how much it will cost them upfront each month, rather than having to hold money back for bills. Because owning or renting a building can cost a lot of money, a lot of a company’s assets can be tied up in their premises. But if this money is freed up from the ownership or long term lease of a property it can be reinvested into the business. Also, the time spent looking after a building is also avoided and this time can be spent helping the business grow, or will indeed save money as there will be no need to hire someone with that specific responsibility. Executive suites also give a business the opportunity to have office space in a prime location for a lot less than it would cost them if they were renting an entire office in the same place, which not only saves money but is also good for business in terms of accessibility and being noticed and trusted by customers.

As well as saving money, there are a number of other advantages to using an executive suite. For example, the fact that there are usually a number of different types of businesses sharing the office space, it is easy to make new connections in different fields which can also benefit a business. All these features of an executive office combined mean that they are more often than not a better option for a business than a regular office rental, and can save a company a lot of money – particularly small companies.


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Serviced Offices – A Smart Choice for Growing Businesses

Why Serviced Offices are a Smart Choice for Growing Businesses


Serviced offices are a relatively new thing here in the UK , but they have been used in the US for a number of years, and the increasing growth of the industry here shows that they are becoming an increasingly popular option amongst businesses. They are fully fitted and furnished offices and often come with computer wiring, internet access and phone connections.

So, you might ask, Why rent serviced offices? Put simply, serviced offices are ready for immediate occupation – which can make them an attractive option for new or growing businesses. And there are a number of other reasons why more and more growing businesses are choosing serviced offices. The offices are looked after by a serviced operator who has responsibility for the office itself as well as a number of additional services usually offered.  Common services included in the price are a reception and secretarial support, conference rooms and also utilities such as rates, heating, electric and cleaning.  Although the offices are often set up for internet and phone access, these are usually provided at an additional, often discounted, cost.  When compared like for like the cost of renting a serviced office usually works out significantly cheaper than renting a regular office and paying for all these facilities on top of that.

Serviced Offices

The fact that serviced offices also come with furniture such as desks, chairs and filing systems also saves businesses a lot of money, particularly new businesses, as they can create a high start up cost.  The money saved on all these facilities provided frees up money spent by businesses on property, furniture etc which can then be re-invested back in to the business.  This can be particularly beneficial for growing businesses as they can use the money saved to help accelerate their growth and maintain their new level of success.

Perhaps the main difference between a serviced office and regular office space to rent is the length of the lease.  Regular offices usually require a long term commitment from a business, often for a number of years.  With serviced offices leases usually run on a 3 month basis which provides increased flexibility for businesses to increase or decrease their office space as desired.  This is especially attractive to growing businesses as it can often be hard to predict staffing needs and growth level for the first few years and so it makes more sense to take out a lease of 3, 6, 9 or 12 months and adjust office size as and when it’s needed.  When the growth of the business has stabilized they may then choose to move to a regular office, but they can take as long or as short as they need to make this decision in a serviced office due to its flexibility.

Although serviced offices are becoming increasingly popular amongst all types of businesses, they are particularly appealing to new and growing businesses as they are extremely suited to their needs.  The immediate availability of the office space, access to facilities, and flexible leases as well as the savings made mean a serviced office can help give a growing business that added boost during an important stage in their development.


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Coworking and Hotdesking Explained

Technology has led to a lot of changes in how businesses are run, most noticeably in the way technology is now used by most industries and has become a part of peoples daily work life.

People are now also able to work from anywhere with the use of laptops and the internet, and a lot more people are able to work for themselves particularly in the technology industry, as they can get work from clients all over the world online. This increase in worker mobility and people working for themselves has also led to a change in how businesses are run and how office space is used. Increasing amounts of people are choosing to work from home or outside of the office which means resources can often be wasted on office space which isn’t always being used to capacity. These changes have led to a rise in two concepts – Coworking and Hotdesking.

Coworking is when a group of individual workers, often self-employed people, use a shared workspace known as a coworking space. These spaces are an office or shared workspace used by individuals as their main place of work providing amenities and facilities, and also providing the sense of community that can often be lost when working alone. Although a relatively recent concept, at the start of 2012 there were over 1200 workspaces in operation worldwide, with America and Europe the two places they were most popular. Coworking spaces are based on a mutual trust and sharing of values and objectives, and can help create the community feeling often lost when not working in an office, as well as giving users access to electric, internet, copiers etc which may cost more to use at home or in coffee shops etc. But unlike working in an office, users have a choice over who they cooperate with and how much as they are all independent from each other, and so the environment is more self-directed, collaborative and flexible than a traditional office. There are also financial and business related reasons to use a coworking space, as there are people there who may share similar problems and can offer solutions, as well as the possibility of making business contacts through other users. As well as the financial and business reasons to use a coworking space, it is also good to have contact with other workers instead of being lonely working at home where you may also be distracted by housework or children etc. Coworking spaces are usually hired out for a monthly fee and are often hired out for 3, 6 or 12 month periods, but they can also by rented daily. However daily use may not result in the same feeling of community and the benefits that go with it.

Coworking Office Space

Hotdesking is similar in ways to coworking but is often used in offices where people work together and for the same company. It is used where mobile and home working is in place to provide spaces where employees can come in and do work in the office when needed, without having a permanent desk. With hotdesking, a workspace is provided which guarantees access to the facilities needed by the employees to do their jobs – this might be a desk, a workplace, office or training facility – but no one ‘owns’ any particular desk, and people can sit at any desk whenever they need to be in the office. This can help reduce costs for the company as it usually leads to a reduction in the amount of office space used, and can often create a more business-focused awareness amongst employees. However there are a few important factors that must be in place to ensure hotdesking works, including offering employees flexible working options, not letting people put personal artefacts or files on desks, and greater time flexibility. It is also a good idea to supply laptops rather than desktop computers so workers will have access to any software they may need for their job and so can’t lay claim to any certain desk, and also insure they can access their own phone line from any desk if necessary.

Coworking and Hotdesking

There have been many changes throughout the years to how and where people work and Coworking and Hotdesking are just another example of how things can change. Whether or not they will last remains to be seen, but for now they are growing in popularity around the world. For this reason they are viable options that should be considered and may help a business greatly.


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London Serviced Apartments Vs London Hotels

How to choose a London Serviced Apartments or a London Hotel?

London serviced apartments are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to hotel rooms. In fact, not just in London, but Worldwide, people are choosing serviced apartments over hotels. They are furnished apartments with various amenities often not available with hotels, rented for both short-term and long-term stays. Serviced apartments are used by all types of travelers  from families on holiday to people traveling on business. But why are they becoming so popular?

London Serviced Apartments

The picture above shows the view of the London Eye, from a Serviced Apartment in Central London.

One of the attractions of a serviced apartment is the amount of space and the level of luxury available at a price far lower than a comparable hotel room. The main facility available in a serviced apartment and not a hotel room is your own kitchen, which adds a lot of convenience and obviously can save a lot of money, in terms of evening meals and breakfasts, compared to hotel prices or restaurant rates. It also gives an increased level of freedom in terms of what type of food you can have and when, with no need to get up early to be on time for the hotel breakfast. This is especially good for people travelling with a family as it can be hard to keep everyone happy in terms of food, and also very expensive to eat out three times a day.

As well as having a kitchen, a typical London serviced apartment has more room in general which can be a good thing for people travelling on business who may want to keep their work space separate from their living space. It also means there is room to do business either with clients or colleagues, and therefore save on the cost of hiring meeting rooms, and also more room to socialise. As well as having the extra room to socialise and the freedom to bring guests back, there is also the ability to bring your own drinks with you and a fridge to keep them in, again saving money on either the mini bar or having to drink in the hotel bar itself. This is all along with increased privacy compared to a hotel. Serviced apartments also usually have better internet available than most hotels, however this is sometimes at an additional cost.

The booking process of London serviced apartments, or serviced apartments anywhere for that matter, is also different to a hotel and may be a bit more time consuming and could require more involvement rather than just simply booking online. There are less websites around showing accommodation available, and also the owner may want to meet or speak with you directly to get payment and also to arrange a security or damage deposit. However, this can be made easier by using a serviced apartment booking agent who will be able to go through the process for you, help you find the right accommodation, and may even be able to negotiate a reduced rate for you. All of the above are reasons why more and more people are choosing to use serviced apartments, and once people have used a booking agent or booked one themselves and experienced the process, it usually becomes their first choice when travelling away from home.

If you would like to find Serviced Apartments, in say Mayfair, Covent Garden or anywhere world wide you can search for free at WorkSpaceSearch.com or Call +44 (0) 844 3303 673 or email us at info@workspacesearch.com

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Coworkers and Why Romance is a Bad Idea

We’ve probably all been there, especially in our teens and early 20s – Office Space Romance, an illicit meeting at the photocopier or shared signals during a meeting.

Office or coworkers romance can be exciting, but they can also be bad for your career. And not just your career, but the person’s your dating too.

In a survey, the US magazine Psychology Today  produced figures that showed 41% of employees in the 25-40 age bracket have been involved in an office romance. And that figure doesn’t appear to be reducing – quite the opposite in fact.

One of the main reasons why it’s not a good idea to date within the office is that offices and work environments come with hierarchies. Date your boss or someone ‘lower’ in rank than you and the gossip starts, the office environment changes and charges of favouritism and favours abound.

Office Romance is a Bad Idea

Other reasons why a romance with a co-worker is bad for business

Your professionalism could be challenged. Bosses may begin to believe that your mind isn’t totally on your work and as a result you’re not performing as well as you could.

Other co-workers may feel awkward. There’s a special relationship there that they aren’t part of. It may make your relationship with them more difficult too, especially if you’re dating a boss – they’re obviously going to be less willing to share office gossip and other personal matters with you fearing it may get back to your significant other.

You could get moved. Some companies frown on office romances and actively discourage it. If it’s discovered you’re dating someone within the same section one of you may be relocated elsewhere within the organisation.

What happens if you split up? Things could get awkward, especially if you work closely together and the break hasn’t been amicable. Then there’s the question of co-workers taking sides which can start getting nasty for everyone involved.

It can create jealously amongst co-workers. We’ve already touched on allegations of favouritism but even if that’s not in evidence there is still a perception that you’ll be treated differently

It’s not surprising that romances with co-workers occur. After all, the office or at work is where we spend the majority of our days. And if you’ve a tough, demanding job then you’re not necessary going to have the time or inclination to socialise outwith the office, especially during week nights.

Working for the same company or in a similar line of business you both have a shared environment there already so it’s easy to fall into a romantic scenario with workmates to discuss.

One of the main reasons companies these days frown on office romances is because of the legal aspect. Allegations of sexual harassment can be very costly to an organisation with industrial tribunals commonplace. Your romance may start out very rosy but it can easily become nasty when it all goes wrong and the last place you want to play that scenario out is in the office.

If you’re in the midst of an office romance or just wondering whether you should embark on one, we’d recommend you take a look at the website safeworkers.co.uk before you make any big decisions.

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Using a Laptop Correctly for Office Work

Most people today use computers – whether for work, home use or both – and for the last few years laptops have now become more popular than desktop computers.  Initially, laptops were used by workers who needed access to the computer while out of the office or on the go, but they are now also used by people at home as their main computer.  And it is no surprise that this increase in laptop sales has coincided with an increase in the amount of people suffering from repetitive strain injury (RSI) due to the computers design.

Bad posture when working incorrectly seated or positioned can lead to other, more general, back, head and neck aches and pains. A leading London ENT Consultant Surgeon, Mr. Mike Dilkes of the London Laser Clinic commented “We talk to people about their posture when working at a computer quite often, as we frequently see patients with unexplained head and neck pain. From time to time it turns out to be a non ENT related problem such as their posture and the way they sit at their desk”.

Neck Pain in the Office

When using a laptop, because it is impossible to adjust the screen height and keyboard of a laptop separately from each other, it is hard to find a comfortable position to sit in.  With a normal desktop computer it is advisable to sit at a desk with the monitor an arms length away and the keyboard a few inches away form you, but this is not possible with a laptop.  Instead, people tend to sit with the laptop too far in away from them in order to keep the screen back a bit, but in turn stretching their arms to use the keyboard which will hurt the arms after a while.  People also tend to rest their wrists on the keyboards hard surface which can place pressure on the wrists and also hurt the arms and shoulders. The positioning of the screen and keyboard can also lead to users sitting with their head too far forward which will strain the neck and shoulders.  For prolonged periods of use it is therefore a good idea to use either a monitor or keyboard with your laptop to avoid these problems.

Using a Laptop on your knee

There are easy measures that can be taken in order to avoid RSI or other problems when using a laptop.  It is a good idea to place the laptop on a stable base such as a table to provide support for your arms rather than on your lap.  However, make sure the desk or table isn’t too high such as a kitchen table as this will result in you having to raise your arms up higher than normal which will itself cause pain.  Laptop desks are also a good idea and are often provided in places where business people are expected to be using their laptops, such as serviced offices or hotels.  These can also be folded and stored in laptop cases and are good for providing the space to connect an external mouse.  Where you sit will also have a big impact as slouching over the laptop while sitting in the sofa can cause back pains and even a bad back if left untreated over long periods.  It is therefore a good idea to sit in a chair with proper back support to avoid this problem.  When in the office, docking stations are a great way to avoid discomfort and enable you to connect the laptop up to an external keyboard and mouse or a monitor.

Although most people, as the name suggests, sit with a laptop on their knees and cause themselves pain, no one ever really thinks of doing anything about it especially as the pain usually leaves us when we are finished on the computer.  However, if left untreated it can cause RSI and other problems particularly with the neck, back and shoulders.  But by following the advice above as well as taking regular breaks to avoid tension in the upper body, it is easy to avoid these problems.

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The coworking space or virtual office, a bit of a no-brainer really

We’re curious. Now that you’ve found this blog – where are you reading it from? Chances are you’re either looking at it on your iPad at a coffee shop, reading it from your Smartphone on the bus/train or – more likely – from your laptop/desktop while sitting comfortably in your coworking space or during a visit to your virtual office.

The latter will probably be in a swish location, either a trendy city centre serviced office space or a pretty rural out-of town converted mill-type business centre. Then again, you might be devouring the blog on your laptop at your kitchen table.

That’s because more and more of us are now working from virtual offices and coworking spaces. In fact, according to a survey by Virtual PBX and reported in Tech Week Europe, more than 60 per cent of us work from a coworking space or visit a virtual office Monday to Friday while another 27 per cent work outside their main office for up to ten days a month.

A total of 600 employees in SMBs took part in the survey from CE level to directors and sales managers. More jaw-dropping still (although not to us here at Work Space Search) than the fact more of us used a virtual office or coworking space, was the number of respondents – 59 per cent – who said they felt they worked better in their coworking space or virtual office than alongside colleagues in a traditional office.

Virtual Office

The benefits of switching to a virtual office

  • Employees are less stressed because where they work allows them more time with other commitments such as family
  • The virtual office is nearby and means no long, tiring commute to and from the office
  • Work data and reports are available via Cloud computing which leads to easy and quick access
  • Consultants can be hired without the need to pay travel and lodging costs for them
  • Firms can hire the best people – regardless of physical location
  • There is usually a receptionist to field calls and give a professional tone to the company
  • Shared meeting rooms are available
  • The virtual office provides another space for home workers who already see enough of those four walls on a daily basis
  • It provides a professional address and therefore image to prospective clients
  • Utility bills are lower
  • Unlike at home, in a business centre there will be others around to chat to when you’re feeling sociable or want others to bounce ideas off

Other benefits of the virtual and coworking office solution – and perhaps the most obvious – are cost savings. Returning to the PBX survey, 43 per cent of those questioned reckoned they were able to cut back around £617 a month when considering outgoings such as rent, phone calls and general office supplies. That’s quite a saving.

Of course, more than any other issue, it’s the proliferation and enhancement of IT – particularly mobile applications and hardware – that’s led to the growth of coworking / desk space venues and virtual offices. And it will continue to do so as technology becomes ever more smarter and efficient.

What about you? Will you join the bandwagon? Incidentally, no prizes for guessing where we’re writing this from………

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Google’s New “Green” London Office Space

Enjoy these images of Google’s new London Head Quarters near Covent Garden. The interior of the office space was created using mainly recycled or reclaimed products and materials, surely making it one of the “Greenest” offices in London.

Covent Garden London Office Skyline

The office decor was inspired in part by some of the local WC2 areas.

Google's New London Office Space  Office Space Rooftop Garden

The office space was designed by Global Award Winning Architects and Interior Designers and Engineers .

Office Space Reception at Google in London

The contemporary offices include some very funky and interesting features, such as a Union Jack Flags on the walls of the entrance area, a Town Hall style 200 seater conference room, rooftop gardens with panoramic views of the London skyline, a Snug and cozy Flat with rocking chairs and retro vintage furnishings, also, continuing Google’s healthy work place ethos there are even allotments for the employees to grow the own fruit and vegetables.

Office Space at Google  Google's New London Office Space

You can search for offices in Covent Garden on the Work Space Search website for free.

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