It’s time to think differently about the way we rent commercial property…
If you are starting a business, then you will probably need to rent commercial workspace. This used to mean a lot of tedious waiting around for phone calls from letting agents.
But now we have gone digital, and can do such business immediately, online. Better still, on this new frontier there is scope for innovation in the way commercial renting done. Dynamic start-ups can create their own opportunities, instead of depending on the right space to come along at the right time.
Create your own work space opportunities…
Let us say, for example, that you want to go into business as a self-employed yoga instructor. As a start-up you are low on funds, and struggle to find a hall cheap enough to allow you to break even (at least, during these early days, when you are still working on building up a clientelle).
You log into FreshSpaceB2B.com, and see photos of an office with wooden floors. All you would have to do is push a few desks out of the way, and then put them back afterwards…
So, you contact the owner of this property, and offer to pay to use the space in the evenings, outside of normal working hours — maybe even just for a few weeks.
When this time has passed, the owner offers to extend the lease on the same terms for a longer period... He has now seen that this situation is nothing but a win for both of you.
Another possible example: You own a kitchen showroom, which contains real, working display kitchens. You place an ad with FreshSpaceB2B, for anyone who might want to host cookery class in the evenings... Or even someone looking for an eccentric place to hold a coctail party!
There is no need for such deals to be long-term or regular. FreshSpaceB2B is all about flexibility and freedom... And, of course, making money, squeezing as much potential from a work space as possible.
Huge numbers of commercial properties sit empty in the UK. In 2017 alone, almost 6000 stores shut down. The same trend is true of office and industrial space, etc.
Empty space costs owners money. If a property is empty for more than three months, then the landlord has to pay increased “business rates”, at 48.0p (small businesses) and 49.3p (standard)
Such is the financial burden of owning empty commercial property, that, in some cases, landlords choose to demolish instead of having to continue to pay. This is a real waste of potential.
After all, a property need only be occupied for six weeks, to qualify for 3-6 months (depending on the type of property) of 100% business-rates relief! So what is stopping landlords from cutting short-term deals to gain this advantage? At least, until a long-term rental opportunity comes along...
No more unnecessary middlemen…
In many cases, it is the commercial property agencies at fault. The longer the term on a lease, the larger their commission. This is why they advertise properties with “minimum-term” leases. This minimum is usually at least a year, if not several. Which means that landlords who are between tenants will almost certainly have a long wait until a suitable candidate arrives.
The commercial property letting sector is barely regulated. Anyone can set up shop as an agent, without any qualifications. Worse still, there are incentives within the structure of the market for ineptitude and deviancy. It's in the financial interests of agents to be obscure about their prices, and also to draft complicated leases. This way, they can seem to be doing more to earn their money.
According to a recent review funded by the Nationwide Foundation: “Indeed, survey data indicate higher levels of dissatisfaction with letting agents: tenants asked about repairs and maintenance were almost twice as likely to be dissatisfied if their tenancy involved a letting or managing agent rather than a landlord more directly.”
According to a 2017 study from Ipsos Mori, property agents ranked in the bottom five least trusted professions in the UK!