From landlords and tenants, to investors, developers and house builders, our specialist commercial property solicitors have the skills and experience to help businesses succeed.
At Bird & Co, we represent and provide services for our clients in their commercial work. We can help you buy, sell, or lease commercial property whether it be office space, retail, industrial or any other type.
We are happy to offer managed services for clients with property portfolios and to work alongside planning consultants on major planning developments where complex legal or environmental issues will require representation at the Courts.
We adopt an open and transparent approach at all times. Costs are always negotiable as we believe it is important to find a way that we can help clients through important stages of commercial growth.
Our commercial property expertise
We offer a broad range of advice, forming an all-inclusive service which covers all of your commercial property needs, including:
- Advising both Landlords and Tenants in relation to:
- The granting and taking of new leases
- Lease management, including assignments, renewals, licences for works, deeds of variation, rent review and dilapidations disputes
- Acting for the sellers and buyers of businesses
- Acting for business owners in relation to the refinance of business assets
- Acting for landowners and developers in relation to land for development or resale, including negotiation of agreements conditional upon planning
- First registrations of title at the Land Registry, including where deeds have been lost
- Dealing with applications to the Land Registry for adverse possession claims
- Dealing with the creation or variation of easements including:
- Rights of way
- Rights for the passage of service media such as electrical infrastructure
- Negotiation of option agreements
- Drafting of overage (clawback) agreements
We offer managed services for clients with property portfolios and are happy to work alongside planning consultants on major planning developments where complex legal or environmental issues may arise.
We seek to exceed client’s expectations by being approachable and completing transactions as quickly as the matters allow.
Whether you are in the market for your next business premises, you want to sell up, or you are an investor, our commercial conveyancing solicitors are on hand to help.
Our service covers all aspects of buying and selling freehold and leasehold commercial property. We also act in business acquisitions and disposals, with experience handling transactions involving both asset sales and purchases and share sales and purchases.
For more information, please visit our Commercial Conveyancing Solicitors page.
Our commercial lease solicitors understand how important a positive landlord and tenant relationship is to maintain the smooth operation of your business.
Our expertise includes the preparation of leases, advice on subletting, assignment and licensing, and advice on lease management, including rent reviews, dilapidations and renewals.
We can act on your behalf when you are refinancing a commercial property, including cases involving third party charges, guarantees and debentures over fixed and floating assets.
Development and planning
We can advise on all aspects of property development and planning law. We will identify your commercial goals early on so we can tailor our service specifically to suit your needs.
Our service includes drafting property development agreements, corporate structuring, plot sales advice, site assembly, and planning applications and agreements.
First registration of commercial land
Purchasing land for the first time or mortgaging it will trigger first registration at the Land Registry. We can handle the entire process of registering the transaction and ensuring the title documents are completed with meticulous attention to detail.
We can deal with applications to the Land Registry for the acquisition of title to land by adverse possession where the applicant has been in possession for a number of years.
An easement is a right someone has over someone else’s land, such as a right of way. We can provide advice about easements affecting your land and the formal granting and removal of easements. We can also deal with claims for easements on your behalf.
We also deal with Wayleave agreements with utility companies for access to their infrastructure.
Under an option agreement, a land owner will give someone a right to buy the land when they are ready to do so within the option period. This will often be subject to them agreeing to comply with certain obligations, such as applying for planning permission. We can help with the negotiation of strong option agreements which are beneficial to your interests.
Overage agreements (also known as development clawback)
Overage agreements can help sellers protect their financial interests when selling off parts of their portfolio. Under an overage agreement, the buyer of commercial land will agree that in addition to the original purchase price they will pay the seller an additional sum of money in the future if a certain event occurs, such as the granting of planning permission. This if usually time limited and will often be a percentage of the uplift in value attributable to the planning permission.
We can provide advice on all aspects of overage agreements, including negotiating terms which are beneficial to your commercial interests.
Commercial property FAQs
What defines a commercial property?
Commercial property refers to most property which is not used for residential purposes, such as:
- Warehouses, factories and other industrial premises
- Leisure premises, such as cafes, restaurants, gyms, cinemas and hotels
- Retail premises, such as shops and supermarkets
How do I buy a commercial property?
Finding your commercial property is the first step. If you are looking for a business premises, you probably have a firm idea of what you are looking for and the location you need. For example, if you want to open a shop, you might look for retail space, preferably on a busy high street with lots of footfall. However, if you are an investor, you may be more open.
Factors which may affect the type of property you choose, include its:
- Use – for example, retail, industrial or office (you may be able to alter a property’s use by making an application to the local authority)
- Tenure – whether it is freehold or leasehold
- Transport links, parking facilities and local area
- Proximity to suppliers or potential clients
The next step is working out your costs. As well as the purchase price of the property, you need to take into account costs such as:
- Legal advice
- Estate agent fees
- Stamp Duty Land Tax
- Business rates
- Fittings, such as furniture, kitchen space, bathrooms and equipment
- Transporting equipment or goods to the new property
- Ongoing maintenance
- Cleaning services
- Waste collection
Once you have found your property and budgeted appropriately, you will need to:
- Secure finance (if required)
- Negotiate an offer, including the terms of the lease if the property is leasehold
- Draft and exchange contracts
- Complete the sale, register the transaction at the Land Registry, pay Stamp Duty and file your tax return
We can provide advice throughout this entire process and handle the entire conveyancing process on your behalf.
How do I lease a commercial property?
The factors that go into choosing your commercial property are usually much the same as if you were buying. Location and use are essential. As are other factors, such as business rates, transport links, parking facilities, and proximity to other businesses and potential customers.
You will secure your commercial property by signing a lease with the owner of the property. This document will set out the term of your lease and conditions such as:
- Service charges
- Rent reviews
- Subletting clauses
- Assignment clauses
- Maintenance and repairing obligations
- Any other rights you agree (such as a break clause if you mnay want to bring the lease to an end early).
It is also important to consider on a new lease whether you should seek to limit your repairing liability. If this can be agreed we recommend that you put a Schedule of Condition in place to protect you if your landlord makes a dilapidations claim at the end of your lease.
Dilapidations claims are used to recover money from commercial tenants for breaches on their lease obligations, usually relating to repairs and alterations. A Schedule of Condition can limit your liability by providing a record of the property’s condition at the start of your lease. This needs to be combined with a limit within the lease on your repairing liability to state that you only need to maintain the property in the state that the Schedule evidences.
What is the Stamp Duty on commercial property?
When you pay over £150,000 for “non-residential” or “mixed use” land or property, you must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax.
For freehold commercial property, you pay Stamp Duty on the agreed transfer value above £150,000. The rates are:
- Up to £150,000 - £0
- £150,001 to £250,000 – 2%
- Over £250,000 – 5%
For leasehold commercial property, you must pay Stamp Duty on both:
- The purchase price of the lease (using the rates set out above)
- The value of the annual rent
The rates due of the annual rent are:
- Up to £150,000 - £0
- £150,000 to £5,000,000 – 1%
- Over £5,000,000 – 2%
Stamp Duty is an increasingly complex area of law and we will confirm the exact liability when acting within a transaction as only very general advice can be provided here.
Is commercial property a good investment?
Commercial property can be a good way to diversify an existing investment portfolio. Typically, property does not correlate closely with more traditional monetary investments meaning it usually is not affected by the stock market.
However, no investment is without its risks. Investing in commercial property comes with its own challenges and can be more involved than other investments. For example, if you become a commercial landlord, you will have legal obligations towards your tenants.
A more hands-off method can be to invest in indirect commercial property funds. However, you should always take independent financial advice before making any investment decisions.
Why choose our commercial property solicitors?
At Bird & Co, we have a broad range of knowledge and practical experience across all matters relating to commercial property. We are based at 3 offices in Grantham, Newark and Lincoln but we attract clients from across the UK, including London, and abroad for our expertise.
Our team is led by Daniel Chard who specialises in all types of property transactions, including complex and high value transactions.
Our costs are negotiable and we are happy to discuss flexible payment options with you as we believe it is important to find a way that we can help clients through important stages of commercial growth.
We are members of the Law Society Lexcel Accreditation Scheme for our excellent client care and legal practice management.
Bird & Co is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).