14th September 2020

How will COVID affect commercial landlords?

I have found two distinct responses to COVID from commercial occupiers.

Modern angular office block against a blue sky

Photo by Omar Flores on Unsplash

1 – “Working from home and using technology such as video conferencing has been a revelation. Our accommodation is too big moving forward, so we will be down-sizing at the earliest opportunity”.

2 – “We need to get staff back. Due to social distancing measures, we need more space to accommodate the existing number of staff, install 1 way systems and provide larger toilet and kitchen facilities”.

Whichever way you look at it, most companies are going to be reviewing the space they occupy, with companies either looking to take additional space and de-risk their accommodation as much as possible, or downsizing and potentially renting meeting rooms etc, rather than leasing permanent space.

Landlords are going to have to adapt to the revised demand in the market in order to entice tenants to take leases in their buildings.

Ironically, a lot of the measures which could be installed to suppress the spread of viruses are already in modern high spec buildings, such as lower occupancy levels, wider circulation spaces and contact less technology, such as passive lighting and automatic doors.

The commercial sector will need to be reviewed, in order to ensure that offices can still function during an outbreak and I personally expect legislation to change to make this happen. Prime example of this would be an increase in the minimum occupancy levels (11 cubic metres space per person), which would force companies to socially distance their staff.

Blue Crown are a leading firm of Chartered Building Surveyors. If you need advice on any aspect of commercial property contact our team and we will be happy to help you.

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