Leasing Business Premises: FAQs for StartUps

If you’re about to start your own business, then one of the most important steps is choosing the right premises to operate from. Get it right and you will have a solid base from which you can start to grow, but get it wrong and it can turn into a big, expensive distraction.

The best way to avoid potential future problems is to make sure you understand everything about the premises before you sign the lease. Here are the main questions you should be asking your property agent:

Who is responsible for what?

Maintenance: Ask what maintenance you are expected to pay for, and what your landlord pays for. Also find out what standards of maintenance you are expected to meet if it’s your responsibility.

Meeting standards: Whatever type of business you plan to run, the building you choose will need to meet certain health, safety, security, disabled access and fire risk requirements. Find out who is responsible for meeting and maintaining these standards.

Meeting classifications: Not only will the building have to meet certain general standards, but it will also have to be classified to allow you to run the type of business you intend to. Check the building has this classification and who is responsible for maintaining it.

Insurance: You are most likely to be responsible for your contents insurance, but double-check who is responsible for the buildings insurance and how it is paid.

What does your rent cover?

When and how it is paid: Not only should you know how much rent you must pay, but also ask when and how it should be paid. Also, find out what the penalties are for late payments, just in case.

Your deposit: Find out the amount of deposit you must pay, but also the conditions you must meet to recoup your deposit at the end of your lease.

What is included: Get a breakdown of exactly what is included in your rent. For example; does it cover your utilities, business rates, insurance, shared facilities, cleaning, security and so on.

Future changes: Ask if the rent amount or conditions may change in the future, and what these changes might amount to, so you can be ready if they happen.

Ending the lease early: Find out what penalties you may face if you decide to end the lease early for any reason, such as closing the business, or needing to expand to larger premises.

Are there any restrictions?

Future changes: If you know in advance how you wish your business to grow, mention these future changes you plan to make, and whether the premises is suitable for these.

Access: Double-check exactly what access to the premises site you have, in case it affects how you can work, such as hours of access or delivery access.

Upgrades: You may find you wish to upgrade your facilities, or perhaps the security of the premises, once you start working, so check if this will be allowed and who is expected to pay for it.


Although you cannot cover every possible outcome, to ensure you avoid any major potential problems it is important that you ask as many questions about your premises first, so you fully understand what you’re signing up to.

Using the questions above, you should begin to gain a good understanding of your lease, but you should always ask whatever questions to come to mind, no matter how small. It could save you a lot of hassles in the long run.

This business advice article was created by Jarvie Bedhall, the West Midlands Commercial Property Agents.

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