Buying or renting premises

Last updated: 27 April 2017

Businesses looking for premises will often choose to rent, but there are some circumstances when you may want to consider buying premises instead.

Find guidance from Business Gateway on buying and renting business premises, including:

  • financial and legal details
  • making an offer
  • using a surveyor and solicitor
  • concluding contracts on a property

If you're a Scottish Development International business client, you can get discounted office space worldwide through Regus. Visit Scottish Enterprise for more information.

Buying or renting government property

You can use the Government Property Finder website (https://www.epims.ogc.gov.uk/government-property-finder/Home.aspx) to find government-owned property, buildings or land in the UK.

If you think a government-owned property could be used in a way that benefits the local community (for example, to build more houses), you can contest its use.

Visit GOV.UK for more information on how to find government-owned property to rent or buy, and how to contest the current use of other government properties.

Buying or renting council property

If you would like to buy or lease land or property in your local area, your council may have available commercial properties and development sites they don't need.

These may include:

  • retail investment portfolios
  • former council housing
  • development opportunities
  • industrial (business) and retail units
  • office space
  • land/properties for sale
  • grazing land
  • industrial premises and yards

To apply or enquire, visit your local council website to check the availability of property in your area.

Commercial mortgages and lenders

If you want to buy property for your business, or invest in property to rent out, you may need a commercial mortgage.

Commercial mortgages are similar to domestic (home) mortgages, although they are typically offered at a variable percentage rate above base rate, like a domestic tracker mortgage. You are unlikely to be able to borrow more than 75% of the value of your business property.

Most lenders want a good personal credit rating and evidence that your business is creditworthy, stable and profitable. They may ask for your business plan and long-term financial projections.

As with a domestic mortgage, the lender's main concerns are that:

  • you'll be able to repay the money
  • the property is worth enough to cover the amount borrowed if you default

Types of lender

Most banks and building societies offer commercial mortgages and provide helpful advisory services. You could also consider using a specialist lender who understands the specific needs of your industry.

Commercial finance brokers

You may find it helpful to use a specialist commercial broker who can use their market knowledge to get you the best deal. Many commercial brokers work in specific business sectors.

You can find a commercial finance broker on the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers website.

Responsibilities when renting

When renting a property for your business, you have some responsibilities by law - but most will depend on what it says in the lease.

Visit GOV.UK for information on your responsibilities in terms of:

  • health and safety
  • repairs and maintenance
  • moving out