Using a letting agent to find a rental may only be an option for Sheds that are financially stable enough to afford commercial rental rates. It may be difficult for a new Shed to rent through a letting agent without the backing of a guarantor or paying a large rental cost upfront.
However, many Sheds negotiate rental agreements (formally or informally) with private landlords within their communities, for example, a local business that has spare space within their warehouse. It can be advantageous for private landlords to house a charity/ voluntary organisation. Especially if a landlord has empty premises that they are still paying for, or they have premises that require a little renovation work that Shedders could do. Private landlords can also receive reduced rates for renting to a charitable organisation, and it can also improve their reputation in doing something socially responsible. These types of relationships can be reciprocal with Sheds receiving reduced or free rental, heating and lighting rates. The UK Government offer a ‘charitable rate relief’ of up to 80% if a property is used for charitable purposes.
With this in mind, it can be worth speaking with potential landlords, or seeking legal advice from your local voluntary sector support agency about your rights about occupation as a charity or voluntary organisation.
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of this option:
- Can be a quick and easy process through a letting agent
- Can get reduced rates by doing a private landlord a favour in taking on the building
- A private landlord will have responsibility for making sure the building meets safety standards and dealing with structural repairs.
- Letting agents can be expensive and may require a guarantor or large deposit
- Private landlords can give notice to get the building back at any time (for sale or alternative rental)
- Rental costs may be insecure
- You may be unable to make any modifications to the building (e.g. hanging shelves).
In all cases you will need to ensure that you have a solid rental agreement and you are happy with the terms.