10 Mar 2011

It makes no sense...

I saw on the news this morning that 28% of retail units in a town near to where I live are empty. Why is that? There are plenty of small to medium business owners so there's definitely a demand for them and with more redundancies than ever, people are using their payouts to have a bash at a dream that they probably never would have got the chance to take a punt at before.

I've leased a business property before and although my rent was cheap, there are so many costs that you think you've taken into account but probably haven't until the money is flying out of your account. Now, I'm not a stupid girl and I went into business with my eyes wide open but there's elements of self employment that will always take you by surprise. And that's just things in your control. The attitude of your landlord can make a lot of difference.

My landlord was harmless but like the stereotype you imagine, he was reluctant to let go of his cash. Even when light bulbs were exploding and water was leaking through the ceiling (of mine and a neighbouring unit from the flat above) he failed to recognise there was a proper problem. After much battling (but no apology) he tried to rectify the situation. I had that unit for two years and got so cross about him not keeping his part of the bargain that eventually I chose to continue the business purely online. Another unsuspecting victim took that unit on and probably still has the problems I had and many before me had.

When you see all these empty retail units you wonder why landlord don't just put their prices down. Surely it's better to be making some money on rent rather than leaving it derelict and slowly running it down? That would help small and new business to get on their feet and then maybe they could negotiate on rental? There's so many things that can be done to help people on both sides of the fence so why won't anyone do anything?

Let's hope things turn around sooner rather than later for the sake of our High Streets.

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