Why internet-ready offices trump location, location, location for tenants.. and why landlords should listen

Commercial Buildings in London

For years, location, location, location has been a mantra of commercial property. It’s become one, if not the, biggest factor by which a property’s value is determined.

Here at Techsolve we think it’s time for a reality check.

Obviously, location matters. Tenants are drawn to attractive spaces that are close to their customers, their employees and/or their supply chains. Somewhere with solid transport links, good options for lunch and maybe a nice view.

That aside, it’s fair to say that most small business owners nowadays would happily give up a Pret a Manger across the road for a fast and stable internet connection. Running water and electricity are a given when moving into a building — the same is now true of Wi-Fi.

It’s surprising then that lots of new or refitted office buildings offer shoddy connectivity, or none at all, and that many landlords don’t do more to make it easier for new tenants to activate fibre internet before they move in.

The mutual value in digitally enabled workspaces

The truth is, as a landlord you’re fully entitled to choose to leave it to your tenants to organise their own internet connections. In the same spirit, tenants also have choices — particularly in areas where supply outstrips demand. Faced with the choice between two properties, one with and one without internet, we can all guess who the loser will be.

Tenants are also getting wiser. Where connectivity doesn’t exist, they’re negotiating delays in the rental payments and/or delaying taking occupancy until the internet line is active. You might be ok with that, but it’s a risky strategy. Some internet service providers (ISPs), while estimating a timescale of 30–90 days, have been known to take more than a year to get their fibre installed and active. Are you willing to take that gamble?

The rewards and opportunities available to landlords that make the extra effort to offer digitally enabled workspaces are very real. Not only to attract the best tenants — and in doing so minimise void periods and time to occupancy — but also to enhance the value of their property. Research in 2019 by Radius Data Exchange shows that connected buildings command a rental premium of 4.7% over similar comparable neighbouring properties.

But we get it. As a landlord it’s not that simple! We understand the technical and legal challenges you face with issues such as wayleave and the restrictive rights that telecommunications code operators have on premises. We know the process of organising internet connectivity is probably alien to you and that the idea of waiting for permits from local authorities to perform groundworks, the back and forth between solicitors and the stress of dealing with any challenges or changes to the proposed route of works to be carried out is utterly unappealing. That’s why we’re here to help.

A helping hand to get your building internet-ready

Working with real commercial property connectivity experts, you can outsource the whole connectivity process, ensuring a legal, technical and pain free solution is in place.

The right supplier can carry out site surveys at all your properties and present appropriate options to you, including managing the process of selecting an ISP — or potentially more than one as a secondary connection. The right supplier can also help complete wayleave agreements to allow ISPs to install and maintain their telecoms equipment in your building(s).

And instead of an uphill battle, the right supplier can help you simplify the entire process for yourself and your advisors by determining the most appropriate technical solution for the building backbone and dealing with the ISPs, solicitors and data cablers to implement a successful solution. That means you can ensure your new tenants can connect to ultra-fast internet in days, not weeks. And you and your commercial agents can confidently start to promote your properties as “internet-ready”.

Or better still, find a partner who can act as the quintessential middleman advising all parties — the tenant, landlord, building management and legal advisors — to take care of the whole connectivity process on your behalf, ready for the tenant’s move-in date.

Digitally enabled office space is critically important to today’s tenants, especially entrepreneurial start-ups, advertising, media and design firms. Tenants want uninterrupted fast-fibre internet and access to the latest cloud-based services. As a commercial landlord, it is imperative your buildings can offer the necessary IT infrastructure to attract the best tenants.

For more detail on the process and costs involved in making a building internet-ready check out our previous blog on the topic. And for more on our services visit https://www.techsolve.eu/internet-connectivity/