Shops to let FAQs

You can find a range of frequently asked questions around renting a shop.

Can I arrange my own buildings insurance?

No! We are responsibile for ensuring that the whole block is insured. You share a roof, guttering etc with other properties and as such, all properties within a parade must be insured as a whole. If we did allow a tenant to arrange their own buildings insurance and they defaulted on payment that would leave the landlord with an uninsured asset and vulnerable to a claim.

How much will the buildings insurance be?

The average shop premium across the portfolio for the year to 31 March 2016 is £22.00 per annum – the premium is based on whether a shop is low, medium or high risk.

This is assessed individually for each unit but examples are:

  • Low: hairdressers, general dealers, florists, butchers.
  • Medium: offices, charity shops.
  • High: hot food takeaways, bookmakers, bakers, cleaners, cafes, off licences.

Will I need planning permission for a change of use?

It is the applicant's responsibility to enquire as to whether planning permission is required for a change of use. This should also be covered in your business plan. The following is to be used as a guide only:

Use class examples and permitted changes

  • A1 (Shops) - shops, retail showrooms, internet cafes, hairdressers, dry cleaners PP is required to change the use of any shop to a new use
  • A2 (Financial and Professional) banks, estate agents, betting offices, tanning shops PP is not required to change to an A1 use provided a ground floor display window exists
  • A3 (Restaurants and Cafes) including snack bars (consumption on the premises) PP is not required to change to A1 or A2
  • A4 (Drinking Establishments) public house or wine bar PP is not required to change to A1, A2 or A3
  • A5 (Hot Food Takeaways) hot food (consumption off the premises) permitted development change to A1, A2 or A3

Can I pay my rent monthly?

If a tenant is more comfortable making monthly payments they must do so in such a manner that the third monthly payment in any given quarter falls on or before the following quarter day ie the rent is always paid in advance and in full on the quarter day.

Can I be granted a rent free period?

This will always be assessed individually for each proposed tenancy. A rent free period will usually arise where a tenant has to do major repairs before trading can begin. We would not normally agree a rent free period to cover your own shop fitting.

Why might you need a credit check/accounts/deposit?

Competition for retail opportunities will often be strong. Apart from the terms and rent being proposed, the landlord will also base the decision on what is called 'covenant status' which refers to the financial status of the proposed tenant ie the tenant that will be signing the lease.

All landlords of commercial properties will want to be satisfied that the tenant they grant a lease to has a reasonable prospect of remaining in the property, paying rent for the whole term. In addition, the covenant status of the tenant will have a significant impact on the investment value of the property.

The usual way of providing comfort to the landlord is by submitting one or more of the following:

  • three years audited accounts
  • bank reference
  • existing landlord's reference
  • rent deposit.

Is there any other assistance you can give me?

We have provided a useful checklist/issues for consideration:

Location and premises

  • Access for delivery vehicle
  • Floor to ceiling height
  • Sufficient display frontage
  • Shop front signage
  • Internal layout
  • Right neighbours
  • Public transport links
  • Car access restrictions
  • Possibility of extending
  • Storage.

Planning considerations

  • Conservation area
  • Change of use needed
  • Building regulations.

Landlord and tenant

  • Lease terms
  • Rent guarantee
  • Repairing obligation
  • Rent deposit required
  • Fit out considerations/rent free periods
  • Fixtures and fittings to remain
  • Ascertain costs for licences
  • References provided to landlord and superiors
  • Licence to alter, include provision for A/C chillers, aerials, satellite dish
  • Accounts for parent company if guarantee required
  • Bank reference
  • Landlord reference.

Other considerations

  • Rates
  • Disability Discrimination Act.