Taking on premises

Finding and taking on premises

So your organisation wants to take on premises for the first time?  Or perhaps you want to re-locate to new premises?  This section identifies the things you need to think about, before you even start looking for premises, and then during the process of finding and taking on premises.  It highlights the key questions, provides guidance on this site and provides links to external sources of high quality information.

Taking on premises is an important stage in an organisations development. To get it right you need to consider:

  • Do you really need premises?  Could you be ‘officeless.’
  • What are your premises needs – e.g. size; location; could you share, etc.
  • Does your organisation have the right structure to take on premises.
  • How having premises will fit into your longer term plans
  • Where to look, and how to understand the property market
  • The cost implications, and where to look for funding
  • Do you want a lease or a licence, or is buying a freehold a possibility.
  • How do you negotiate the best deal.
  • Do you need professional help and how do you find it.

Building Assets offers expert services to ensure your organisation manages the activities involved in finding and taking on premises for the first time efficiently, smoothly and cost effectively.  Please see Our services for more details and you can contact Janet Keighley on janetk@building-assets.co.uk to discuss how we can work with you.

We also provide a range of resources on this website to support you with finding and taking on premises.  Our resources, and many of the other resources are available free; some external resources have a relatively small charge.

Resources to help you with finding and taking on Premises

Acquiring new premises.  Guidance to the legal issues involved in taking on premises, especially things you really need to know about leases and licences to be able to negotiate the right terms and conditions.

Checklist from Community Technical Aid to help you consider what is involved in managing a building

Managing your community building   A handbook for people running buildings in local communities.

Community Buildings Checker – a planning tool from My Community Rights designed to help community organisations considering taking on a building http://www.communitybuildingschecker.org.uk.

Healthcheck with questions and checklists to help you get things right from the start

It is vital that your community building has the right types of insurance cover, at the right financial levels from the outset:

Types of insurance a brief summary of the main types of insurance

A useful guide to types of insurance cover needed by community groups

Explanations of the different types of insurance cover that can be involved in a charities insurance policy:

Community Buildings Insurance Inventory   Guidance on how to carry out a building contents inventory from Community Matters (free to members / £2 non members.)
Would meanwhile space work for you?  This  involves a landlord letting a charity or community group occupy otherwise empty commercial property rent free (though the tenant will usually cover any business rates due, insurance and utilities.)

See http://www.meanwhilespace.com/ for more information

Model Meanwhile leases and licences at:


Third Sector premises in London – Locality  Explores policy development towards land in London, and how this affects VCS organisations.

Information and model documents can be found on the following websites:

Community Matters has resources on Building Management,   Finance and Funding

Some Community Matters resources are available for free, and some are charged for (typically £2 – £12.50) though they are free to members of Community Matters

The Ethical Property Foundation has resources on RentingWhat goes into buying a buildingGood Practice, Pop up spaceSharing/co-location.


Taking on premises is an important step.  BuildingAssets can help you get it right.