No landlord – residential or otherwise – enjoys being faced with a vacant property; but for those in commercial property, there’s an extra pain point to consider. As we’ve discussed before on our blog, empty rates are a common blight for commercial landlords, who are essentially forced to pay for owning a vacant building.
Unfortunately, as we head into uncertain times, it’s becoming harder to predict how long a commercial property will remain occupied, and that’s why it pays to be prepared for every scenario – especially tenants moving out. Thankfully, it’s possible to ensure you’re not caught off guard if the worst should happen, by preparing early on.
Inspire Tenant Loyalty
You must never underestimate the importance of loyalty when it comes to tenant-commercial landlord relationships; loyalty is what keeps your property occupied, and the bills paid. But to use loyalty to defer any future problems with tenants moving out, you need to start building the relationship from day one, and not just by being friendly.
If tenants feel looked after, through features like excellent facilities management and adequate security/fire safety measures, then they’re likely to be happy where they are for the foreseeable future, giving you some comfort.
That being said, there are still circumstances that might catch you off guard. Businesses are always climbing towards growth, and that can often lead to outgrowing some commercial properties. There’s also the possibility that they can no longer afford to rent the space, or they choose to restructure the organisation entirely. In any of these scenarios, loyalty won’t be of much use, leaving landlords to instead prepare for empty rates.
Put a Contingency in Place
There should always be a contingency plan in place long before tenants move out, with caveats including notice periods and a strategy to attract new tenants to minimise the financial damage. A truly successful contingency plan, however, must include understanding empty rates, how to best mitigate them, and who can help.
Talking to empty rates experts such as FCS will provide peace of mind through a straightforward solution to the empty rates conundrum. FCS help commercial landlords by taking on clients’ empty rates liability for the duration of the vacancy period (as opposed to the six weeks found with other mitigation providers, leaving clients with hefty fees) and dealing with the complex procedures that often leave landlords tangled.
Asking questions about empty rates and preparing to deal with them can mitigate a lot of the stress and dread facing commercial landlords, and can form the backbone of a successful contingency plan, where tenant loyalty isn’t much help.
In short, it pays to be prepared well ahead of time – but even if you’re facing a short notice on tenants vacating your commercial property, there’s still time to act. Unfortunately for many commercial property landlords, empty rates and their accompanying relief scheme are a complex minefield of rules and regulations. Left unattended, they can also cripple a landlord financially, forcing them to sell the property or face debt.
Putting some time into researching what FCS can do for you at this stage will make the world of difference should tenants wish to leave, and put you in a much better position to survive in the long-run, whilst keeping your property.
If there’s one thing to take away from this article, it’s this: don’t rely on loyalty as a commercial property landlord, because any number of unexpected circumstances can come about. Instead, be prepared for vacancy and find an empty rates expert with your best interests at heart to ensure your future is set in stone.
Are you a commercial landlord facing a vacant property in the near future, or simply want to be ready when the time comes? Feel free to get in touch with FCS to find out how we can help you, or explore our website to learn a bit more about us.