Since 2013, Centric Community Projects have been providing ethical solutions for empty buildings. These solutions both meet the need of the landlord and the local community, as Centric provides workspace for charities, social enterprises and also small businesses. There are multiple benefits of donating your property to us, and if you have any form of Corporate Social Responsibility framework in place, donating your empty property to Centric could strongly contribute to your outcomes.
As well as helping a local organisation to benefit and potentially improve the area around your property, having tenants will keep your building in visible use, deterring those who may try to damage an empty building. Having a tenant who regularly accesses your property will also ensure that problems which may arise in the property (such as leaks) are seen and can be rectified much earlier than if the property were empty, preventing potential substantial losses. Lower security costs, a lower risk of dilapidation, squatters, vandalism, and often lower insurance premiums are also beneficial.
Depending on the type of property, it may be suited to retail, office or storage use. The type of usage varies depending on the condition of the space and whether utilities are connected or not.
In most cases this is preferable, but it is not essential. We manage multiple properties which don’t have any water, gas, heating or electricity connections. We are still able to find occupants for these buildings, but the usage is mainly restricted to storage in the case that there are no utilities at all.
We communicate to all charities moving into Centric managed properties that they must seek permission before making any changes. Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and if they include changing the appearance of the property we will consult you before granting permission for any changes.
It’s understood by ourselves and our charity tenants that there will not be an excessive use of utilities while they are using the property. If this becomes the case, we can put measures in place to ensure that you will not foot the bill. Another benefit of having charity tenants occupy your property is that they are able to provide meter reading upon request, meaning that the utility usage is easily monitored.
Sometimes, landlords set limits on usage from the outset. For example, one of our landlords offered to cover the cost of utilities up until £500 per quarter. In the large multi-storey office buildings that we manage, charities contribute £50-100 a month towards utilities. We are flexible, and ready to discuss how we can meet your needs. If you do wish for the cost of normal utilities to be contributed towards (within the first 12 months), we need to know this before we begin marketing your property.
We recently worked with a health and safety consultant who reviewed all of our processes. We now have requirements for all of our tenants to provide evidence that they have made efforts to protect their own safety in the property which they occupy. This evidence includes PAT Testing, Fire Risk Assessments, Public Liability Insurance and Contents Insurance. Charities are told that they have a duty to ensure that the property they are occupying is safe to be in for staff, volunteers, and visitors, though we do discourage charities from conducting expensive remedial work because of the potentially short notice periods.
Yes, we are happy to consider your preferences for how your space might be used. When recently working in Essex to fill three abandoned retail properties, a preference for organisations which would act locally and benefit the local community was expressed. We worked with this in mind, and now six organisations have moved into the properties and are bringing new life and hope to the area.
No. Any problems which arise throughout a charity occupation of your property will be communicated directly to us by the charity and we will either manage these issues or escalate them to you via the appropriate channels should we feel that this is necessary. We never give details of property owners to our tenants, as we are acting as their landlord during their occupancy of your space.
Charities are told at the beginning of their tenancy that there may be viewings conducted on the property they are occupying. On occasion, we are able to arrange charity tenants to be present for inspections when they are requested. If the charity has put together a very attractive and successful use of the property, this can even have a positive impact on viewings. However, this should be considered as a bonus rather than an expectation. Our agreements with charities are on a Tenancy at Will basis rather than a Full Repairing Lease.
If you wish for your agreement with Centric to end, notify us of your intentions and when you desire vacant possession of the space and we’ll do the rest. We can deliver vacant possession in as little as 14 days’, though it is a preference of ours to have a little more notice where possible.
In some cases, charities have reaped such benefits from the use of Centric-managed properties that they have sought to gain the security of a long-term paid lease, which we have negotiated for on their behalf.
Read what some of our tenants have said about us and the difference that commercial property has made to them- click here.
Thank you Centric, landlords, and everyone who’s played a part in establishing this fantastic community resource in Brighton. You’ve made a crucial difference to the development of our charity and the health and well-being of a large number of people in needGary Pargeter
Project Manager Lunch Positive