Useful Information & Downloads

We have compiled below a list of terms and other useful information to help when dealing with commercial property:

Alienation: Rights to dispose of a leasehold interest in land or property are described as alienation provisions. Usually a lease on a commercial building will permit assignment or subletting but dependant upon a raft of conditions being satisfied.

Assignment: The transfer of a lease from one party to the other. Once a lease has been assigned, the assignee becomes responsible to the landlord for paying the rent and fulfilling the other obligations of the lease. However, in the event of default, the landlord may be able to require the assignor to pay the rent.

Authorised guarantee agreement (AGA): A common requirement on granting a lease. The tenant gives an AGA if it assigns the lease, guaranteeing the assignee’s performance of the lease obligations given to the landlord.

Break clause: A clause in a lease giving either or both parties the right to terminate a lease in specified circumstances.

Brownfield land: Previously developed land.

Business rates: The way in which businesses and other occupiers of non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local authority services.

Capital value: The value of an asset, freehold or leasehold, as distinct from its annual or rental value.

Covenant: The word is used in two senses: First, in the strict legal sense, it refers to a clause in the lease requiring the tenant (or landlord) to do something or to refrain from doing something. Second, it is used in the wider sense to denote the worth of a tenant and hence the risk of default, which will have a bearing on the value of the lease.

Demised premises: Premises which are the subject of a lease.

Dilapidations: This term principally covers proceedings whereby a landlord, by service of a ‘schedule of dilapidations’ seeks either to enforce a tenant’s repairing obligations under a lease of business premises, or claims compensation for lack of repair by the tenant at the end of the lease term.

Equivalent yield: The yield worked out on a discounted cash flow basis, taking into account initial and reversionary yields.

Freeholder: One holding an estate in “fee simple absolute in possession”.

FRI lease: A full repairing and insuring lease where the costs of all repairs and insurance are borne by the tenant.

GIA (gross internal area): The GIA refers to the total area within the perimeter walls of a property and makes no allowance for the space occupied by staircases, walls, WCs etc. This measurement is the standard measurement given for industrial property.

Greenfield land: Undeveloped land.

Ground lease: A lease of the land only. Usually the land is leased for a relatively long period of time to a tenant that constructs a building on the property. A land lease separates ownership of the land from ownership of buildings and improvements constructed on the land.

Headline rent: The rent apparently being paid, which may not take account of concessions such as rent-free periods.

Hereditament: A unit of rateable occupation for rateable value purposes.

Indexation: The regular adjustment of a rent in accordance with a specified index, eg the Retail Price Index.

Initial yield – gross: The immediate investment yield received by a property purchaser – i.e. rent as a percentage of purchase price, without allowing for any purchase costs incurred such as legal, agents and valuation fees, bank fees and Stamp Duty.

Initial yield – net: The yield available to the purchaser after taking into account purchasers costs detailed above.

Internal repairing (IR) lease: Under this type of lease the landlord retains responsibility for structural and external repairs without reimbursement. The tenant’s only responsibility is for repairing the inside of the let premises and contributing towards the maintenance of any common parts via a traditional service charge.

Investment yield: Annual rent passing as a percentage of the capital value.

Lease: A contractually binding agreement that grants a right to exclusive possession or use of property, usually in return for a periodic payment called rent.

Managed office space: A hybrid of serviced office space and conventional office space, fully managed by outside companies. It offers highly equipped office space on flexible terms.

Mezzanine floor: Is an intermediate floor that can be installed post construction, height permitting, to provide additional storage /office space.

NIA (net internal area): The NIA is defined as the usable space within the perimeter walls of a property. It excludes areas such as the WCs, space occupied by solid dividing walls, staircases etc. NIA is the standard figured quoted for office space.

Purchaser’s costs: These costs include Stamp Duty Land Tax, legal and agency fees, and survey charges. They are traditionally calculated at 5.7625% of the purchase price, on the assumption that the property has a value in excess of £500,000.

Rack rent: The best market rent obtainable

Rateable Value: The VOA is responsible for assessing the rateable value of all non-domestic and business property in England and Wales. In broad terms, the rateable value is a professional view of the annual rent for a property if it was available on the open market on a set date. Local councils use the rateable value, in conjunction with a factor called the multiplier, to calculate the basic business rates liability for each property, before applying any discounts or reliefs. Local councils are responsible for sending out the bills and collecting the rates payable. Rateable values are reassessed, or re-valued, every five years, bringing them into line with current market values. You can check what the current rateable value is on a property by visiting The Valuation Office Agency website or by clicking on the link below:

Real estate investment trust (REIT): An investment vehicle in which investors purchase certificates of ownership in the trust, which in turn invests the money in real property and then distributes any profits to the investors. The trust is not subject to corporate income tax as long as it complies with the tax requirements for a REIT. Shareholders must include their share of REITs income in their personal tax returns.

Rent review: Leases generally contain clauses providing for a periodical review of the rent, say at five yearly intervals. The lease will generally specify the basis of review, which may be to Market Value or by reference to an artificial means like the Retail Price Index (RPI).

Restrictive covenant: A covenant in a lease restricting the tenant in some respect, eg a covenant in a shop lease providing that only a particular type of trade may be carried out at the premises.

Reverse premium: On assignment, the payment of a sum of money by the assignor to the assignee e.g. a sum of money to reflect the unfavourable lease terms, eg where there is over-renting.

Rent review (market value vs indexed-linked): Reviews to ‘market value’ are the most common form of rent review for commercial leases. Indexed-linked reviews are where the rent review is linked to an index, typically the Retail Price Index (RPI). Indexed-linked reviews are often used a substitute for market value in an attempt to keep the rent in line with market value, although such indices (i.e. RPI) bare no relation to property values. Indexes are mainly used for properties where there is little or no comparable evidence and can often lead to a reviewed rent being either grossly inflated or undervalued if adopted over a lengthy period of time.

Reversionary yield: The yield the purchaser should be likely to receive on the purchase price following a rent increase or a rent review to an already agreed or assumed market rent.

Service charge: The amount a tenant pays for services his landlord provides e.g. when the building is let to multiple tenants it will cover common parts and the exterior.

Small Business Rate Relief: You will be eligible for a discount under the small business rate relief scheme in England if you only occupy one property and it has a rateable value below £12,000. The Government has temporarily doubled the level of relief available. Between 1 October 2010 and 31 March 2014, eligible ratepayers will receive small business rate relief at 100 per cent on properties up to £6,000 (rather than 50 per cent), and a tapering relief from 100 per cent to 0 per cent for properties up to £12,000 in rateable value for that period. The temporary Small Business Rate Relief increase currently applies throughout the whole of the 2012-13 billing year (until 31 March 2013). The relief has now been further extended to apply throughout the whole of the year 2013-14 (until March 2014), by the 2013 Autumn Statement to take account of economic conditions. For further information on up to date information on the Wakefield Council website click on the link below:

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT): Tax payable to the Government, which is calculated on the purchase price of a property. For commercial properties up to £150,000 there is no SDLT, for properties between £150,000 and £250,000 the SDLT is charged at 1%, for properties purchased between £250,000 and £500,000 the SDLT is calculated at 3% and for properties over £500,000 SDLT is calculated at 4% of the price.

Subletting: Where the tenant lets part or all of the premises to a subtenant, as permitted by the terms of the lease. It differs from assignment in that the head lessee remains responsible to the landlord for the payment of rent and fulfillment of other obligations.

Termination: The coming or bringing to an end of a lease, by mutual agreement, by the effluxion of time, or by the exercise of a right of one of the parties.

Use classes: The Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 puts uses of land and buildings into various categories. A use class is a grouping together of similar land uses.

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