I want to expand into additional services, but my lease doesn’t permit it. What’s the best way to negotiate with the landlord?
If your lease strictly states that you can only operate as a hair salon, for example, this does not necessarily mean it prohibits you from also offering nail services. The primary function of a hair salon could be argued to include additional services, such as nail or beauty treatments.
However, if the lease expressly prohibited nail services, then you would need to seek a Deed of Variation to amend it to allow you to include additional services. This will often be reflected in the rental valuation of the property. A restricted user clause is less valuable than an open user clause.
So, the more services you can provide in the property, the higher the rental valuation is likely to be. As such, I would negotiate a small increase in rent to allow nail services.
Plus, you could agree to pay for the Deed of Variation. This would usually be sufficient for a landlord, unless there is a genuine reason for not allowing the additional services. For example, the landlord owns another property next door, which is used as a nail salon.
I want to rent out treatment rooms in my salon. Does the lease need to factor this in?
Most leases would automatically prohibit you from renting out treatment rooms or chairs, so it is important to check your lease if you’re doing this without permission. You would need to agree to the ability to sublet for you to issue a lease (or licence) to people you are renting space to.
Many hair and beauty salons treat renters as self-employed staff but giving away space to another business is a property transaction and needs to be documented within a lease or licence, not as a self-employed contract.
What costs apart from rent I should take into consideration when taking on a lease?
Depending on what your repair liabilities are, you would also need to factor in service charge, which would include a sink fund. Sink funds are service charge monies kept on an account for future big projects – for example, roof repairs or new lifts. Service charge should only be paid for the costs of maintaining areas of the premises that you benefit from, and the landlord should provide evidence of this to you on request.
Landlords generally insure the building, and the tenant pays the landlord back for this cost by way of insurance rent. It is always worth asking for a copy of this insurance policy and premium to make sure you’re only paying for the portion that you’re occupying or benefitting from. Business rates can be a very costly expense. You can check the business rates costs online prior to taking on a property.
Think about utility costs and the cost of putting in new utilities too. If you require the installation of an additional electricity line or gas connection, you could find yourself with costs in the thousands, and big delays.