While the market for letting residential property continues to be strong, the commercial property market is more challenging – generally as a result of oversupply. So, in a competitive market, all Landlords need to ask themselves 'what do tenants want?'
Demand is stronger for good quality space, with planning consent for commercial purposes– tenants will want to know that they are not going to be enforced against. This also means good housekeeping, remembering to apply for Certificates of Lawful Use if you have had tenants in buildings for more than 10 years, particularly if your site has problems which means it would struggle to get a normal planning consent. If your tenant leaves you may well lose this valuable opportunity.
Good quality tenants generally want to present a professional image to their customers and therefore want premises that look like a commercial centre rather than a farm yard. A good standard of access is also vitally important. Of course your location is not something you can change, however although buildings close to a trunk route or motorway junction may have an advantage, a good location alone is no guarantee of finding a tenant.
With buildings regularly coming onto the market, tenants know that waiting often results in a building that ideally suits their needs – so there is no real pressure to compromise.
There are a number of steps to make letting your buildings more easy. Look into the possibility of obtaining planning consent for commercial purposes. Look at your site with a critical eye. Does it look like a commercial centre? Remember that is what you are competing with. Are there opportunities to improve access? This can open up a site that was previously almost impossible to let. Is there flexibility to split buildings to suit different size requirements? Make this potential known but perhaps hold off doing the work until you find the tenant. Keep your options and your mind open, and don't discount any types of tenant until you have met them in person and found out more about their business, (unless they want to fill your barn with fridges and disappear!).
If you are considering putting buildings to an alternative use we would be pleased to appraise the letting potential of your buildings and identify new possibilities open to you.