Solar Building, Doxford Park

This building was constructed in 1999 and was innovative at the time to include photovoltaics within the design of the front elevation. The building provides 36,823 sq ft of office space over ground, first and second floors. The building is now over 20 years old which presents a number of maintenance issues for certain elements of the building, particularly mechanical and electrical installations.

The building was let to a tenant that no longer required the building. Our client was interested in taking occupation of the building to open a large call centre with an aim to create approximately 470 jobs in the local area. One of their biggest concerns about committing to the building was being held responsible for the repair costs, particularly as many elements of the building were approaching the end of the designed life expectancy.

After discussions about what our client’s options were for securing this property, we were instructed to undertake an appraisal of the dilapidations’ liability under the terms of the current tenant’s lease. This would quantify what the current tenant would have to pay to the Landlord in settlement of its historical repair obligations under its lease. Once this figure was quantified, the current tenant would pay that to the Landlord to enable them to terminate their lease and leave the property. This would then open up the options for our client to commence negotiations for a brand new lease on their terms, with particular reference to the repair obligations.

We worked with specialist Mechanical and Electrical engineers to present a full picture of the current state and condition of both the fabric of the building and the M&E installations within it.

Our client then used our report and figures to negotiate a deal for occupation avoiding the historic liabilities and requesting that certain elements were repaired before they moved in. This gave them security and certainty when considering their financial commitment and liabilities when entering into the lease and this could be factored into their overall business plan.

We then prepared a detailed Schedule of Condition and Photographic Record of every element of the building to document the current condition. This was attached to their new lease to help to limit their repair obligations as tenant to ‘no worse condition than the current condition’ as recorded in the Schedule of Condition.

We would always recommend that any business considering taking on a new property commissions a Schedule of Condition because it can significantly help to limit the financial burden and obligations associated with being a commercial tenant.

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