Relocating your Charity - Key Considerations

A sign advertising an office to let in Dhaka (Photo: Joaquim Procopio, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr)

Relocating to new premises is a major undertaking. Before you start your property search, here are some of the main points you should consider:

Before you start - Your space needs, now and in the future:

How do you think your charity will change over the next few years? Will it grow or shrink? Will you deliver your services in a different way? Is your charity going to implement flexible working? How might your space requirements change?

Looking at premises - key points:

Once you have started looking at premises, here are the key issues you should record and think about:

1. Space

How much is there?\r\n How is it distributed?\r\n What is the floor plan like? -- Can you get an accurate plan from the landlord/current owners? (This can be surprisingly difficult.)

2. Costs:

You need to tabulate and compare ALL the costs related to a property. These may include:

  • rent
  • rates
  • service charges
  • insurances
  • fees: solicitors, structural reports, surveys,
  • possible building works - see item 4, below
  • other considerations: Can you negotiate a rent-free period? Could you sublet if necessary?

3. State:

  • What condition is in it?
  • Surveys, building services, condition reports and/or structural reports, if available
  • Records of work done
  • Maintenance logs
  • Noise levels, light levels, ventilation, etc.

4. Refurbishment Requirements:

What needs doing and who will pay for it? Minor redecorations or major building works? What is the scope of works? What is the urgency of works? What is the controllability of works? What is the status of the building -- e.g. is listed? Will you need building permissions, planing permission, etc.?

5. Location and Accessibility:

What does the locality feel like? Is it safe? If you plan evening or weekend use, would you need to employ security? What are transport links like? Are there restrictions on the use of the building? What about other organisations in the building? How accessible is it? Is there public access? Disabled access? Do you need access for refurbishment works -e.g. skips, heavy equipment, etc.?

6. Dynamics: What could change over time?

How long is the lease? How often are the rent reviews? How are they structured? What about the current occupancy? What is the timetable for availability? Are there likely to be any changes in status? Could you increase or shrink the amount of space your charity has, if necessary?

7. Local partnerships and amenities:

  1. Who else is in the building?
  2. Is there a possibility for linking up with your neighbours to share services?
  3. Are there local organisations with whom you could work?
  4. Are there opportunities for joint working?
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Buildings and Property