A guide to renting property from the Council

This page explains the procedure for renting property from the Council. It is aimed primarily at prospective tenants of commercial premises and does not cover agricultural property, grazing agreements or allotments.

Where can I find property to let?

The Council advertises property to let by one or more of the following means: a letting board on the property, the Council’s website and advertisements in newspapers or other relevant publications.

Details can be downloaded from the website. They will include a case officer from whom further information and assistance is available and through whom a viewing can be arranged.

The letting details include a brief description of the property with floor or site areas and an outline of the terms on which it is offered. This may be by a fixed term lease or on flexible terms. A rent may be quoted or offers invited. Additional information such as rateable value and energy performance will be provided where applicable.

Applying for a tenancy

You may wish to seek professional advice from a Chartered Surveyor or solicitor on the condition of the property and on your proposals generally before submitting an offer. If you have not been in business before you should also consider preparing a business plan and identifying what sources of funding are available to you.

If you intend to change the use of the land or property you should consult the Council’s Planning Department to make sure that you will be able to use it how you want to.

Once you have decided that a property is suitable for your needs and checked whether it may be used for the purpose you intend you should submit your rental offer to the Council in writing. This can be by post or email and if marked “subject to contract” you will not be bound by your offer until you sign a lease.

If your offer has been accepted

The case officer responsible for managing the letting will advise you if your offer has been accepted and whether there are any terms on which the Council is prepared to negotiate. The case officer is your first point of contact for any queries.

If your offer is accepted the Council will carry out enquiries to check that you are able to meet the rent and other commitments. Once these have been completed you will be informed whether or not a tenancy is offered. If it is we will send you “heads of terms” summarising the basic details.

When heads of terms have been agreed a draft lease will be sent to you or your adviser and the Council will regard the property as being “let subject to contract”. This means that an offer has been accepted and the terms of the lease are being agreed. The Council may receive other offers for the property after an offer has been accepted and is duty bound to consider these until such time as a lease has been completed.

If at any time you are unsure about what you are agreeing to you should seek independent advice from a solicitor or Chartered Surveyor. The case officer will do his or her best to explain things to you but you should remember that the case officer is acting on behalf of the Council not representing you.

You will usually be asked to make a contribution to the cost of preparing a lease or tenancy agreement. Details will be included in the heads of terms. You will also have to pay anyone you appoint to advise you.

Lease terms

Our Tenant’s Guide to Business Leases provides guidance on lease terms but we recommend that you obtain professional advice before signing a lease or tenancy agreement.

Next steps

When the lease has been completed the case officer will arrange to hand over the property to you including door keys and alarm codes where applicable. He or she will read the meters with you and the Council will arrange for utility supplies to be transferred into your name. We will also inform the rating authority that you have taken occupation.

Your concerns

If you are concerned about the way that a letting is or was handled by the Council you should speak to the case officer in the first instance.

If you are still not happy please ask to speak to the Estate Manager – Operational. The case officer will let you have contact details or ask the Estate Manager to contact you.