Business people seeking advice while chewing over the small print on their lease are convincing property experts at Bruton Knowles the recovery has plenty of potential for further growth.
Angus Taylor, Head of Commercial at the firm’s Gloucester office said: “Dilapidations are not the first thing that comes to mind as a bellwether for the commercial property market.
“But the fact we are advising so many tenants on this frequently overlooked aspect of their lease is providing a useful insight into this rapidly changing sector.”
He said the tenant-landlord relationship had begun to swing around to favour the occupier.
“Commercial transaction activity is going up and we are seeing a steep rise in dilapidations work, which means occupiers who have been stuck in the same place for years are suddenly starting to think about moving again.”
“Tenants are putting their properties in order and this is a good indicator of the increasing business confidence across the West.
“Pent up demand is fuelling moves to bigger, more modern or refurbished premises and there is clearly more money around.”
Angus, who is based at Bruton Knowles’ Gloucester office, said: “Rising activity is crystalizing some aspects of commercial property operations that might have drifted a little during the recession.
“Because the market was so flat for so long, some aspects of the business operation may have been considered to be of secondary importance. But not any more. We have been called in to advise increasing numbers of firms about the implications of their lease, and more particularly the dilapidations clause.
“Put simply, buildings need to be returned to landlords in compliance with the lease requirements, otherwise the tenants will need to pay to cover repairs – and this could set them back thousands of pounds.
“With tenants once again eager to move on and expand it’s all too easy to concentrate on the nice shiny new premises rather than taking the time to tick the boxes on their existing property.
“That’s why we recommend a full assessment at least 12 months before the lease comes to an end, to properly access the condition of the building and give tenants time to fix any problems once identified.
“If the increase in dilapidation advice is anything to go by, the recovery is barely out of first gear.”