You've found the right space for your business and now it's time to talk terms. How to make sure you get the best deal
Make sure you know not just what prices are being quoted in your area of search but also the actual terms upon which deals are being done. This is one of the things that a good property advisor should be able to tell you or try talking to other businesses in the area to see if you can find out what they are paying.
Find out how long the space has been on the market and how much space is available in the neighbourhood. Remember it costs the Landlord a lot of money to leave space empty and they should be willing to do a deal!
Like when buying a car, unless the property market is particularly strong, view the Landlord's quoting terms as a starting point for negotiations. In a soft market you should expect to be able to negotiate a concession on the rent and even a rent-free period or a 'capital contribution' towards your fitting out costs.
Demonstrate that you understand the market or are properly advised and are looking for a 'fair deal'. The Landlord's letting agent is obliged to pass onevery offer to their client. Make sure this actually happens.
Once the main terms are agreed request that the Landlord confirms these to you in writing. These are sometimes called heads of terms. Review these carefully and if necessary seek advice. Do not sign the heads of terms as this could constitute a legally binding contract. As a safeguard, all correspondence at this stage should be stated to be subject to contract ie. not legally binding. This means however that you could be gazumped if the Landlord gets a better offer. Some Landlords have an 'anti-gazumping policy' and will not deal with other parties for a fixed period of say two weeks.
Make sure that the lease terms match what you have provisionally agreed. If in doubt, stop and take legal advice. A good Landlord will take time to explain the meaning of individual clauses.
If you've done your homework and feel confident you're getting a fair deal move quickly to secure the space. But, if you feel pressurised, or if you're not happy and something doesn't feel right, be prepared to walk away!