We receive many queries regarding commercial property in London, to save you time we have put this list together.

With this post we will answer the most frequent questions, however if you require additional help, register to talk to one of our experts.

The questions include:

  1. How Long Does it Take to Find a London Office?
  2. Do London Offices Have Car Parking?
  3. Should I Rent or Buy?
  4. What Are Service Charges?
  5. What Are Business Rates?
  6. What Do I Need to Know About Security and London Buildings?
  7. What is DDA and Who Pays It?
  8. Is VAT Paid on Rent?

1. How Long Does it Take to Find a London Office?

  • Longer than you may think
  • 2 weeks to inspect what’s available
  • 1 week to agree terms
  • 4 weeks with the solicitors

But any of these elements can take longer which is why it is useful

2. Do London Offices Have Car Parking?

  • Car parking is a rarity in Central London
  • Insist on having car parking, and your choice of offices is limited
  • Any car parking is expensive
  • Say £3,000-£5,000 per annum plus rates, and then add the congestion charge!
  • Offices with car parking can be found
  • Most occupiers rely on the excellent communications in Central London

3. Should I Rent or Buy?

  • Most companies rent
  • Freeholds can be bought, but they are difficult to find.
  • Own a freehold, and you may be on 5 floors; this may not suit
  • Freeholds are a major capital commitment, however, buying a freehold can be a great investment.
  • More info: freehold versus leasehold

4. What Are Service Charges?

  • With your own self contained building, you operate it and you pay the bills.
  • When you rent part of a building, you pay the landlord towards the running costs, i.e., heating, maintenance, commissionaire etc.

For more information, see the Service Charge Guide

5. What Are Business Rates?

  • They are a property tax charged to the occupier by the local authority
  • The cost can vary very widely; they can cost as much as £20 per sq ft a year

For more information, see our post on Business Rates

6. What do I Need to Know About Security and London Buildings?

  • This can be very important to some companies
  • Not all buildings have a good level of security at all
  • Secure buildings tend to have higher service charges – you get what you pay for
  • Options are a commissionaire, video entry, CCTV, card entry systems

7. What Is DDA and Who Pays It?

  • This is the Disability Discrimination Act
  • Buildings must comply

For more information on DDA

8. Is VAT Paid On Rent?

  • Generally yes
  • Most buildings are now VAT registered, so VAT is payable
  • Some VAT free buildings can be sourced for those groups that cannot reclaim VAT, e.g. banks etc…but it’s difficult

About Michael Fraser

Michael Fraser

Michael - founding partner of Find a London Office - started in the London property market in 1970. Michael has developed extensive knowledge of the locations, the owners, the rental values, and - most importantly - has developed very solid contacts with the other agents working in the hub of the conventional office market, giving him a considerable advantage both sourcing office space, and negotiating the best possible terms for the tenant.

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