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Tips for retail landlords

18th July 2018

Insider advice from Mark Mugliston, Residential Sales Manager, in his monthly column in the Diss Express.

You cannot have failed to notice the number of shops in Diss and other towns that are standing empty at the moment.  We all bemoan the state of the high street and we know the traditional shop faces stiff competition these days from the internet.  Therefore, finding the right premises is key to the success of the business that’s going to be operated from that site.  Because of all those empty locations, it’s a buyers’ market so as a landlord you have to be prepared to take advice from the experts.

Emily, Nikki and Jack from our Commercial team have helped me put together a short list of tips.  If you are thinking of setting up a retail business, read carefully.

It’s the L word!

If you are looking to buy a property as a retail investment than the old Location, Location, Location applies as much to business premises as it does to houses. You would be wise to research returns from the area to ensure you are going to get what you want back on your investment.


At the moment the housing market is very price sensitive.  If an attractive property is perfectly priced you could have people queuing at your door, and this can be the same with commercial properties.  Obviously, as a landlord you want to achieve the best price possible for your premises and your agent will strive to do so, however, it is important to take your agents advice if they feel the price you wish to market at is too high. 

A good agent will conduct research into a figure suitable for your property and compare with other properties on the market as well as those recently let.  Perhaps consider what terms you would be willing to accept and then consider other eventualities as well.  It will be helpful for your agent to know this so that they can find somebody perfectly suitable. As with any rental, take in the whole picture; income, length of contract, the type of business taking over the shop, do you think it’s viable and going to be successful?


Present your property as you would wish for it to be presented to you.  This is important as it could affect how prospective tenants see the property, how much time and money they may need to carry out any necessary works or repairs (which could involve a rent-free period) and potentially how they might treat your space. We advise thinking long term on this – some premises we’ve handled have been changed to such a degree that without serious investment they aren’t suitable for many prospective tenants.  Consider having a clause that puts the onus on the tenant to return the premises to an agreed state at vacation.


Be prepared for the feedback you might receive following viewings.  Sadly not everyone is going to love your premises and some you might find want to use it for something different than its current use.  It is good to consider your options when you first commence marketing if your premises appeals to a wider audience and it is also good to know the local area surrounding your property. 

The Details

Once you’re ready to let out your property, sit down with your agent and talk through the nitty gritty - contract length, rent and deposit are your starting points. Then you need to decide you who is responsible for repairs, insurance and outgoings.  Business rates, service and utility charges all have to be considered and clarified.

If you are out there looking – happy shop shopping!