Row of shops with colourful shop fronts

Taking a business licence

23 May 2016
This article is part of our Business Premises Guide
Providing information to support business owners with some of the more common decisions and considerations that you would need to take into account when moving business premises, from taking a commercial lease or buying a property to tips on who you should seek help from at each stage.

A licence could be a benefit to a start-up or small business looking for a short term property solution. Typically a licence will be available for buildings occupying a number of businesses, but they are generally more flexible, offering contracts for a period of one year or less and can usually be terminated at short notice.

“It’s flexible and can be a good way to get an indication as to whether your business would flourish in a certain area.” says Paul from RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).

You should consider the fact that a licence gives you no automatic right to renew once it has expired and that it is technically not a tenancy agreement (it requires no rental payments but rather a licence fee or series of fees).

 “The disadvantage is that regardless of how well you have been trading from the property, you may have no rights to stay if the licensor wants the building back.” adds Jonathan from Talkspace Group.

Tip: Terms vary considerably with licences so you should check how often your licence fee needs to be paid so you can factor this into your business finance plans.

  • Licences cover a short period of time (usually 12 months and under) and most licences require just a months’ notice to terminate should you change plans – ideal for making a move from the home office
  • Licences are generally inexpensive and don’t require large upfront fees. You are usually asked to put your first month down
  • The landlord is responsible for insuring the premises and for repairs/ maintenance to the building
  • You do not have any tenancy rights and no rights to renew the licence
  • Short notice termination also applies to the landlord, the notice is usually one month but this means you can be asked to leave the premises at any time
  • You are not usually allowed to alter any part of the premises for business needs
It is important to make sure that you have the right insurance in place to protect the business that you have built. Every business is different and has its own business insurance needs, which is why we work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurers to ensure that you are getting the right insurance cover for your business.
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