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A guide for Selling or Leasing a commercial building

20th May 2015

If you are planning to sell or rent a Property it is important to be ready to produce all the necessary documents that a Buyer/Tenant will expect to see as part of the investigation process.  Regardless of how quickly your solicitor can work, a delay in production of the supporting paperwork at the start of the transaction will have a knock on effect and can, indeed, put off interested parties altogether.  So, what might you need?

Asbestos Report – there is a statutory obligation on those who own or occupy commercial premises (and residential premises with any shared or common areas) to ensure that the property has been surveyed for the presence of asbestos and a management plan is in place.

Fire Risk Assessment – owners, employers and tenants have a general health and safety obligation to ensure that their premises are safe. In particular, under the fire safety regulations they must undertake a risk assessment and put in place appropriate precautions.

Energy Performance Certificates – these are a requirement when selling both residential and commercial premises. There are some exceptions which your Solicitor will be able to guide you through. A qualified EPC surveyor will need to be engaged to inspect the premises and produce the necessary report.

Electrical and Gas Equipment – these should all be checked on a regular basis and a Buyer/Tenant will expect to see the latest report and be satisfied that everything has been carried out in accordance with the current regulations and to a proper standard.

Air Conditioning – regulations have been introduced to ensure that air conditioning systems are inspected and assessed with reference to their energy efficiency and effectiveness. If this is applicable to the premises you will need to ensure that the necessary reports are made available.

Health & Safety File – it is an obligation that this is kept at the premises and should detail the reports and procedures relating to that premises. There may be additional documents required particularly if there have been building works in respect of construction and alterations to the premises.

A little time spent in preparation before a deal is settled can pay dividends in reducing delay and may even prevent the cost and frustration of losing a Buyer/Tenant.  Early contact with your solicitor should enable you to pull together the necessary information and make that head start.

Danii Jhurry-Wright, partner, commercial property department

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