Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Serviced offices are also known as Business Centres– where the offices are fully furnished ready for immediate occupation, including telephones and broadband facilities.

There is a reception area whereby our reception staff will greet your visitors on arrival and answer any calls on behalf of your business.

 

The monthly rent includes rent, rates, service charge, utilities and services of reception plus beverage supply.

Other administrative facilities such as post, fax, copying are also available at additional costs.

Meeting room facilities with catering are available at our Business Centres.

The minimum terms are usually 3-6 months with licence agreements and rentals are paid on a monthly basis with one month deposit required.

All costs are subject to VAT.

Managed and all inclusive office suites are often used to describe the same thing. An all inclusive or managed office is usually smaller office suites up to around 10 persons, although it is possible for these terms to apply to larger spaces.

The all inclusive rate usually means that the rental, service charge, business rates, building insurance and quite often, electricity is included within the price quoted. Where parking is available, this is usually an additional cost.  All prices exclude VAT.

Managed and all inclusive offices usually require rentals to be paid monthly with a one-month deposit held for the duration of the agreement.

These suites are usually let on a 12 month licence agreement which is a short form legal document usually 5 or 6 pages in length and usually agreed between the parties without the need to instruct solicitors. These are usually for a fixed 12 month period with no notice periods. If you wish to renew at the end of the term both parties discuss any changes to the terms and pricing and proceed accordingly.

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Most commercial property is let on what is described as a conventional lease basis. This means that a full lease is negotiated between both parties with the use of solicitors (in most occasions). Conventional leases are usually used for any tenancies over 12 months in length, for an agreed period of time, with tenants break options to terminate the lease after a certain length of time.

The lease document outlines the obligations of both the landlord and the tenant during the period when the space is let and also provides details of the service charge and landlords responsibilities under this.

Heads of Terms is the document that is produced which confirms what has been negotiated and agreed between both parties and details the main points that will constitute the lease document. It will include information such as; the two parties, their representatives, the length of lease, any agreements made during the negotiation period, the amount of rent due, details of the service charge, the tenants ability to assign and sublet the property and any other salient information that should be agreed prior to the instruction of solicitors.

(Heads of Terms are not a legally binding document but it is normal not to seek to renegotiate these once they have been agreed.)  Solicitors will take the Heads of Terms and use the information within these to and reflect them in the full lease document.

A licence is an alternative form of occupational agreement which is more flexible and less formal that a lease whilst still forming a legally binding document. Usually a few pages in length, a licence contains the main pertinent information in relation to the landlord and tenants obligations during the term of the licence. Licences are ordinarily used for short term occupation for instance no longer than 12 months and in managed or service space.

A break option is a provision within a lease at a fixed point within the term of the lease when either the landlord or tenant (or both) has the ability to end the lease on a given date subject to certain criteria.

It is quite common for breaks to be included at agreed points within the term of a lease although the presence of breaks may reduce incentives available to the incoming tenant or may require penalties if exercised usually in the form of a one off payment to the landlord for a fixed pre-agreed sum.

It is usual in multi-occupied buildings for tenants to pay a service charge. The service charge is usually managed and assessed by the landlords management agents, Emerson Management Services, and covers items incurred by the landlord in primarily repairing, maintaining, cleansing and renewing the structure, exterior, common parts, plant and equipment and providing any other services as set out in the lease. A landlord cannot make a profit from a service charge and it is purely the cost of maintaining the property over the course of a 12 month period and is budgeted 12 months in advance and reconciled at the end of the financial year.

A service charge is usually quoted per square foot and is usually payable on the March and September quarter dates and can vary from building to building as to the amount per square foot.

If the building is self-contained, therefore occupied by a single company, there may only be an estate charge applicable which is similar to a service charge but usually only covers the external items that are dealt with by the landlord.  It is usually lower than a full service charge as it covers fewer items but gives the single occupier of the property the flexibility and ability to decide when and what works are carried out, as and when required and to seek comfort from knowing they are sourcing maintenance contracts etc and achieving the best possible price.

Subletting and assignment are often referred to as the alienation clause and relate to the ability of the tenant to transfer the lease on a property onto another company either temporarily or completely.

Subletting is when a company may sublet part of their premises or all of the premises to another company but the main company continue to pay the rent and observe the requirements of the tenant under the terms of the lease but the subtenant is allowed to occupy the premises, pay rent to the original tenant and trade from there.

Assignment differs in that this is a more permanent transfer from one company to another of the remaining liability under the lease and provides the original tenant with greater ability to dispose of the liability permanently.

All commercial property requires a planning use to permit specific uses of the premises. The main ones are outlined below and it is a legal requirement that the correct use for the premises is secured, prior to use of the premises.

A1 shops and retail premises
A2 retail premises used for financial and professional services
A3 restaurants and cafes
A5 hot food takeaways
B1 business uses including offices other than those for financial and professional services, research and development including laboratories and studios, and light industrial
B8 storage or distribution centres
B2 general industrial premises
D1 medical and health services, day centres and nurseries and non-residential training centres

Business rates are the commercial property equivalent of council tax and are payable to and set by the Local Authority in conjunction with the valuation office.

Full details of all properties business rates can be found at the valuation office agencies website www.voa.gov.uk

The business rates an occupier will pay are based on the open market rental value of the space which is determined by the Valuation Office.  This is then used to apply a standard rate in the £ to provide the amount paid each year. Rates are assessed by the VOA taking into consideration the location, size and quality of the space and therefore it is possible for suites within the same building to vary primarily on size and specification.

Small businesses may be able to benefit from small business rates relief, if applicable. Further details can be found on the business link website and can greatly assist smaller companies in ensuring occupational costs are kept to a minimum.

A lease will often specify that the rent is payable on ‘the usual quarter days’.

As indicated in the name, this refers to the quarterly months in a calendar year.

The usual quarter days are: 25th March, 24th June, 29th September and 25th December.

Comfort cooling describes office space which has a combination of perimeter hot water radiators but also has either ceiling or wall mounted units which provide cooling into the space when the weather is hot outside.

It is quite common to find comfort cooling in accommodation which has been refurbished or where the original system was a perimeter radiator system and either the Landlord or a previous occupier have installed separate comfort cooling units.

Office space that is air conditioned will benefit from an integrated system to provide heating and cooling which combines to provide a comfortable working temperature within the office environment.

This means that the space will not have any perimeter radiators but will have duct work or a ceiling mounted cassette system through which air of the desired temperature is circulated usually with the provision to control the temperature across different zones within the office space.

LPHW stands for Low Pressure Hot Water system and, in effect, this is what everyone would know as central heating.

This is usually provided by perimeter radiators fed by hot water pipes linked to a central heating boiler.

Buildings with a LPHW heating system and no air conditioning or comfort cooling are still very common and the systems are very efficient and effective.

Cat 2 light fittings were introduced into commercial office space to provide a less reflective source of lighting where there is high use of computer VDU’s or laptops etc.

This contributes to a more pleasant working environment for employees.

LG3/LG7 light fittings are an altered design from standard Cat 2 light fittings so that they perform better in spaces where there is high use of VDU and laptops.

LG3 and LG7 compliant lighting provides a more pleasant lighting environment, but essentially the only difference to Cat 2 lighting is in the design of the luminaries or diffusers.

 

A raised floor provides a way to install cabling for computer use, power distribution and telecoms whilst it all remains hidden.

To create a raised floor, a void is created between the concrete floor of the building itself and the carpeted finished level. It works in a similar way to how stages are used at events, with struts placed evenly across an area covered by boards to provide a stable surface.

It gives great levels of flexibility as connections for power, telecoms and data can be easily moved to suit an individual occupier’s office fit out and preferred desk arrangement.

In offices which don’t feature a raised floor system, perimeter trunking is an alternative whereby data, telecoms and power cabling is fed through a trunking system along the walls of the office.

Perimeter trunking will either run along the skirting or approximately 1 metre up the wall (dado trunking) to provide flexible connections for desking and computers etc.

Some office space will not provide perimeter trunking or a raised floor, so instead a ducting system will be installed within the solid concrete floor.

Although not as flexible as raised floor or perimeter trunking, floor ducting provides a visually appealing way in which to manage the distribution of power, data and telecoms cabling and can be supplemented by perimeter trunking if required.

Suspended ceilings are common in most office developments and incorporate a grid style frame hanging from the ceiling which support ceiling tiles. These tiles create an illusion of a clean, even and level ceiling.

The reason suspended ceilings are so popular is that it allows users to hide unsightly cables behind the ceiling tiles for lighting, data and telecom connections and also incorporate light fittings to evenly distribute light across the office.

DDA compliancy usually means that a building has either been constructed or altered to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005.

In essence, this means that a building which is compliant will have safe access routes into the building including ramps, powered access doors, sufficiently wide external/internal doors and access to lifts as well as the provision of toilets designed for disabled access.

We understand that not all businesses work nine to five, so we offer 24 hour access in a selection of our properties.

Using a combination of access control systems, onsite security teams, offsite 24 hour security surveillance and shared access points, you can work when it suits you and your business.