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How can commercial landlords adapt their properties to meet the demand for cycling facilities, such as bicycle storage?

With those returning to their offices post lockdown keen to avoid public transport, the number of people cycling to work is set to increase exponentially.  

Landlords could potentially capitalise on this increased demand for bike storage by converting their redundant car parking spaces to bike storage. Bike storage could be viewed either as beneficial for retaining existing tenants and attracting new tenants or as a new income stream, if the bike storage could be let to a cycle hub organisation.

Landlords will need to consider the following:

  • Is it necessary to provide changing rooms and showering facilities? A cycle hub organisation is likely to demand these facilities to attract higher fees from its customer base.
  • If the landlord has a leasehold interest in the relevant building, do the terms of its lease permit the use of the redundant spaces as bike storage? Is the landlord permitted to sublet to a cycle hub organisation? Do any conversion works need to be reinstated at the end of the lease term?
  • Have the building tenants obtained rights to use or been demised the car parking spaces? If so, could you offer the tenants a premium in return for surrendering their rights?
  • Can this bike storage be accessed easily without entering an area demised to a building tenant?
  • Does this use invalidate the building insurance policy? Will the occupier and third party liability cover deal with any incidents that arise?
  • Would the conversion works trigger the need to obtain planning permission? Does the existing planning permission or any section 106 agreement require the car parking spaces to be retained?
  • Are there any health and safety concerns? 

Landlords who can overcome with these concerns may have an opportunity to capitalise on the COVID-19 sparked cycling revolution.

This article was first published in Property Week on 3 August 2020.

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