With recent rising energy costs and global insecurity brought into sharp focus by the war in Ukraine, it is time to take stock of your property assets.
Two issues should be to the forefront of consideration:
For landlords, if you have let your property to a tenant on a long lease with the tenant solely responsible for repairs, it is easy to become complacent. However, there is an ongoing trend of Government tightening legislation as it seeks to meet climate change targets, thermal performance and efficient use of energy.
The Government White Paper for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) sets out the need for commercial rented buildings to meet a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C from 2028, with an EPC rating of B from 2030. It is estimated that in Bedfordshire alone, 55% of the commercial buildings have an EPC worse than C.
If a property is not maintained and improved on a continual basis and meets tenant/buyer expectations, it can quickly become unlettable and unfit for purpose. Poor maintenance can also result in users of the building having day-to-day activities disrupted and lead to a spiral of lack of care, resulting in an unattractive property.
Recently we have been commissioned by a local property owner of two town centre offices to advise on management issues as follows:
Following a review of the EPCs and obtaining advice on potential improvements by a specialist consultant, we are now drawing up proposals of how to achieve an acceptable rating with a target of EPC rating of at least C and possibly B to future proof.
Various parts of the building were found to be suffering from decay and deterioration resulting in tenant dissatisfaction. Opportunities are being taken to replace windows with thermally efficient versions, while still maintaining the character of the building.
We are also consultants to several local churches to advise on their ongoing repairs and refurbishments. Recently, we have carried out a quinquennial review of properties belonging to Three Rivers Church in Bedford. Various repairs and improvements have been carried out to their three properties during 2021, with cyclical redecoration planned for 2022. Spurred on by the Mayor’s Climate Change fund initiative, the trustees are now looking at ways to reduce their energy bills. Following obtaining an EPC as preliminary guidance, we are now advising on options to carry out improvements to lighting, heating and insulating the building fabric.
Do you have a commercial property that needs to be looked at? Please contact Stuart Brown to find out how we can help you.
If you have a commercial property that you let but are considering property management, then please contact Tessa Smith.
The industrial and storage market has seen the largest growth in property rents and has remained the most robust of the commercial property sectors. Over recent years, there has been a growth in online sales following the onset of coronavirus and both retailers and distributors are requiring an increased amount of storage space to facilitate these requirements.
Are my farm buildings suitable?
When considering whether commercial industrial property diversification is an option for you, there are a number of matters you should take into consideration, which include:-
The benefits compared to other diversification options:
When considering whether your farm buildings are suitable, you could also consider storage containers. These have also increased in demand and may be a smaller initial step into the commercial market.
For more information or to discuss your farm buildings and their suitability, please contact Tessa.
There are a wide range of benefits when using a commercial property agent, such as Robinson & Hall, to assist you with the disposal of a property, by lease or sale, or when acquiring a property, either as a purchaser or a tenant. We have detailed a number of these key advantages below.
We offer a no obligation market appraisal where we will visit the property and then provide advice to you on the best methods of marketing the property, timing and the potential sale price or rent.
Once you have decided to sell/let your property we will advise on what pre-marketing works need to be completed to maximise the value and how to set a property up for marketing, We will assist with taking photos of the property to present it in the best light and prepare a professional and detailed set of marketing particulars. All of this helps to ensure you get the best out of your sale/letting.
These include advice on:
Our properties are marketed on a variety of online property portals which increases the property’s exposure to interested parties.
We send properties to suitable applicants on our database. Sometimes this means we can find a buyer/tenant prior to launching the property to the open market.
We carry out reference checks on all tenants to ensure their financial position will enable them to cover the rent.
As well as assisting in the sale or letting of commercial properties we also regularly carry out property searches for those looking to purchase or rent a property. The benefit of using an agent in these instances are as follows:
For more information or to find out how our Commercial Property Services department can help you please contact Tessa Smith.
Do you have redundant farm buildings that your machinery no longer fits into or are surplus to requirements?
Have you considered a change of use to diversify the building into a commercial unit?
Commercial property comes in a variety of forms including offices, retail, industrial and storage units to name a few. It is worth considering what alterations and services are needed in respect of each of the uses and the impact that this will have on your existing farm.
By adding a commercial enterprise to your business, you bring in an additional income stream that will help spread risk.
Possible investment required
When thinking about the type of diversification, you also need to consider the amount of investment needed. Each type of commercial property requires different levels of conversion.
Retaining the asset
When considering commercial diversification compared to residential use, the lower cost of conversion often means you can retain the premises and rent them out so you retain control and produce an income.
Use class order change
In September 2020, there were amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. If considering diversification, it would be beneficial to review these changes and to check which use class would be required. Please see our planning article here.
Increased tenant demand in the industrial and storage sector
There has been a noticeable increase in demand from tenants looking for space from which to run their e-commerce business. This grew even further as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Larger, more urban developments are being occupied by national companies and this has resulted in smaller companies, who are desperately searching for space, considering relocating to rural locations.
New life to old buildings
Modern machinery can often be too large for older agricultural sheds and by converting these former agricultural properties to commercial use can give the buildings a new purpose, whilst producing an income.
The change of use also ensures that the property is maintained, preventing it from falling into a state of disrepair.
Things to consider
The possible impacts on your existing business
The area where we are seeing the largest growth is in industrial, storage and distribution. We have received good interest for all units marketed in these sectors in the last 12 months.
If you have a redundant farm building and would like to discuss the opportunity of turning it into commercial premises, please contact Tessa.