Small Business Hub

Property advice for small businesses

This guide takes you through the more common decisions and actions you may need to take – from acquiring a lease to challenging a dilapidations claim – along with vital property-related issues such as valuations, planning permission and the business rates system.

Though comprehensive, it is no substitute for the in-depth knowledge and advice a professional surveyor can provide, working in some instances with your lawyer or accountant. It should help you to appreciate when you need to call in the professionals and how to work with them.

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Showing 1 - 21 of 21 results

  • Small business retail lease
    Leasing & letting

    Small business retail lease

    A lease is a binding contract in law and signing a lease on a property is one of the most significant financial commitments that a business can make.

  • Small business property guide
    Business & management

    Small business property guide

    Download the complete RICS Small Business Property Guide.

  • Building surveys
    Business & management

    Building surveys

    You would be advised not to buy a building without first commissioning a building survey from a chartered surveyor.

  • Business rates
    Business & management

    Business rates

    You are almost certainly liable to pay business rates if you occupy business premises.

  • Buy or lease?
    Business & management

    Buy or lease?

    Deciding whether to buy or lease your premises is not always easy as sometimes you will not have the choice.

  • Construction and alterations
    Business & management

    Construction and alterations

    Whether you are considering simple alterations, a more complicated refurbishment or extension or a completely new building, a chartered surveyor will be able to advise on all stages from inception to completion.

  • Dilapidations
    Business & management


    It can come as a nasty shock towards the end of a lease when the landlord requires extensive work from the tenant to remedy damage or disrepair or to put the premises back to its original state if the tenant has made internal alterations.

  • Finding the right premises
    Business & management

    Finding the right premises

    Your business will be easier to run - and more profitable - if you find the right premises, but unless you approach the search in a logical and organised way, and take advice where necessary, you risk overlooking some points which may turn out to vital at a later stage.

  • Keeping good property records
    Business & management

    Keeping good property records

    When problems related to your premises crop up, a good record-keeping system helps you to respond quickly.

  • Making the most of space
    Business & management

    Making the most of space

    A business needs to maximise its space. To have more space than you need imposes an unnecessary cost burden, but if your business is expanding you need to be sure that you will have adequate space when it is required.

  • Planning permission
    Business & management

    Planning permission

    If you intend to alter or extend your premises, carry out a different trade from the premises or even construct a totally new building, you face two important questions. Do I need planning permission? If I do, how do I obtain it?

  • Planning property cash flow
    Business & management

    Planning property cash flow

    Property costs are an important part of operating expenses for most businesses, whether you own or lease your premises. It is therefore vital to have a clear view of the outgoings relating to your property and of when the major items of expense will occur.

  • Property insurance
    Business & management

    Property insurance

    You need adequate insurance for your premises to protect your business. If you are a tenant, it is probably required by your lease. It is important to remember that buildings insurance does not usually cover disruption to your business, contents or stock which will probably need to be insured separately.

  • Renewing a lease
    Business & management

    Renewing a lease

    It can be a worrying and uncertain time for business tenants when a lease comes near to expiry but it can also be a time of opportunity. You may be able to renew the lease on better terms or you may be able to move to more suitable premises.

  • Rent reviews
    Business & management

    Rent reviews

    If you occupy your business premises as a tenant, the lease document may provide for the rent to be reviewed at intervals: normally every three or five years.

  • Sales, assignments and sub-letting
    Business & management

    Sales, assignments and sub-letting

    A systematic approach to disposing of property can minimise disruption and save time and money.

  • Service charges
    Business & management

    Service charges

    Particularly if you occupy only part of a larger building, you will probably have to pay – over and above the rent – a service charge to cover the cost of services that the landlord provides.

  • Taking a lease
    Business & management

    Taking a lease

    Signing a lease on premises means that you are probably entering into one of the most significant financial commitments that your business will make.

  • Taking a license
    Business & management

    Taking a license

    If your business is very young or a complete start-up, there might be advantages in occupying your premises under a licence rather than a lease. Property owners sometimes find it convenient to grant a licence, partly because the occupier will not qualify for ‘security of tenure’. Licences are usually for much shorter periods than a lease and do not require the same level of financial commitment.

  • Tax allowances on property
    Business & management

    Tax allowances on property

    There is no point in paying more tax than you have to. Some of your property-related spending may be allowable against your profits for tax; but this depends on the classification of the expenditure – a highly complex area where you really need the specialist advice of your chartered surveyor and accountant at the earliest possible stage.

  • Valuations


    There are many different reasons why you might need a valuation of a business property. You might need to establish the security for a loan. If you are thinking of buying, selling or renting a property, you might want an indication of the likely price. A valuation may be needed for incorporation in your accounts or in a propectus and you may need a figure for insurance purposes.