There are currently thousands of commercial properties in London that are empty. Nick Dutfield discusses why landlords who have been unable to rent their office spaces are sending a flood of enquires to him as they look to attract new tenants for their properties. Even serviced apartments like those offered by House of Fisher have been struggling recently.
It is harder than ever to let commercial property in London. I talk to commercial agents every day who are in the exact same position. It is true that Brexit is causing many decision-makers to shelve their expansion plans and delay their office moves until there is a clearer picture of the situation. However, in terms of losing confidence, all aspects of business investment have been affected by Brexit, and not only purchasing office space. Therefore, there must be another reason why so much of the office space in London is going unused.
Connectivity is the biggest problem. Or the lack of connectivity to be more accurate. London might be a model of modernity and a global commerce centre, but when it comes to internet connectivity, it is actually quite antiquated. This lack of sufficient infrastructure and a need for having wayleave agreements in order to get a business connection secured for every tenant means that it tends to require a large investment and take months to get a property connected.
I don’t even have to say it that no business could survive these days without any internet for long. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that when potential tenants learn that they might need to wait weeks, and potentially months to get their internet connected, that they immediately start looking at our serviced offices. It is true that serviced office spaces do have many downsides. However, one thing that they do have going for them is they provide businesses signing up with rapid connectivity.
Get Your Tenants Connected in 7 Days or Sooner
Office landlords and commercial agents do not have any choice in the matter. In order to win tenants back the connectivity problem must be solved. As I explained previously, it is a long-winded process to get a new lease line installed in London for every individual tenant. However, there is an alternative option available that can get tenants connected within days instead of weeks.
There are several important ways that wireless microwave connectivity is different from traditional lease lines. Extensive cabling in the road is not required. That means that a wayleave is not required. A satellite that is installed on the building’s roof is used by a wireless microwave in order to deliver connectivity. That means it can be quickly installed with very little disruption. Also, this technology has become so robust that it provides a connection that matches most wired connections in terms of reliability and speed.
For commercial lettings, being able to offer internet within seven days to tenants is a game-changer. The commercial agents and landlords that we work with say that when the building’s connectivity is assured, it brings the advantages back into play for private commercial properties during negotiations. This results in them being able to let their office space once again.
Potential Disadvantages of Shared Internet Connections:
- Might be over-contended already (slow service due to too many users already using the connection)
- The service might not be reliable (some shared connections are awful)
- May not be economical (there are some building-shared services we have seen that are a thousand times more expensive Mbps compared to having a dedicated line of your own – shared lines don’t always save money)
- You will be dependent on somebody else’s contract – the line could be stopped if the master line-owner ends up moving out
- If you are unable to directly access tech support it could take longer to get a problem resolved
- If you are not provided with Public Static IP Addresses you might not be able to run your own servers
- Ongoing costs that may last as long as you use the office space or until you can get your own internet connection