A brief guide to help you understand some of the common terminology you might encounter, when searching for office space.


The clue is in the name, where it lends to a style of work that benefits from flexibility and adaptability. Agile working is designed to be malleable and subject to change – it lends to employees having an increased autonomy in their daily activities, where they work, and the times they work. It rejects the traditional views of working norms.

The amenities within an office are the aspects and features that go beyond bare minimum requirements for employees to work. The commercial properties which cater to health and wellness, relaxation, refreshments, and outdoor space as add-ons give rise to higher demand and price per square foot.

A broker is a third-party agent who facilitates the Landlord/ Tenant process. They can act on behalf of either party, to arranges viewings, draft contracts, negotiates fees/ rent/ fit outs and any other ad hoc requirements. For their services they require a commission-based fee that is usually invoiced upon exchange of contracts.

A business centre is a building or facility that is fully equipped for basic professional needs. It offers in-house support on various aspects, such as administration, mail handling, call switchboard, reception services and IT support. Business centre’s usually operate fully managed and provide office space, meeting rooms, internet and events space – that can be booked on a flexible basis.

A community or facilities manager is usually responsible for the overall management of the property. Their duties could range between admin and financing, membership management, property maintenance and the cleaning schedule. They are the key ambassador for the day-to-day running on site and ensures that Landlord and tenant’s needs are taken care of.

Coworking is where a singular office, property or campus is used by multiple groups of people from different disciplines, or businesses. This could be, for example, for those who are self-employed, small businesses, freelancers, or international companies. This has become an increasingly popular option within the market, as it offers a cost-saving strategy with the convenience of a managed space.
Coworking is used as an umbrella term for all sites that include shared facilities. Either with dedicated desks, hot-desks, and fully open shared working. Coworking spaces do not suit businesses that handle private, confidential, and sensitive data.

A Day Pass allows an individual to access facilities and amenities on offer from a coworking space or business centre. As the name suggests, this is limited to a day access, usually for a hot-desk – however usually with full access to the property. This suits those who travel abroad for work, and need reliable internet connectivity, meeting place or focus area.

A membership is possible for a dedicated desk, that is rented usually on a month-to-month basis. The member can access all site facilities and are able to ‘claim’ a desk as theirs in the coworking space. These desks are often placed separately to hot desks in order to provide some autonomy and privacy.

ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance – they are pillars of a framework in which companies are required to report to. It is an important factor within commercial real estate as it captures non-financial risks, impacts and opportunities. ESG assessments are being incorporated significantly, as the world faces increased public attention against challenges on climate change, inequality, an economic instability.

A flexible office can be also referred to as a ‘Flexible Workspace’, ‘Flexispace’. These terms have been coined to determine a new branch of commercial use for an office building. A flexible office space covers a wide variety of features, amenities and contracts that operate outside a normal commercial lease. This can cover – hot desks, managed offices, business centres, virtual offices and coworking spaces.

A hot desk is a desk or workstation that is available for rent within an office or commercial environment. This desk is usually available on a daily charge, that is available on a first-come basis and can’t be ‘reserved’. These work stations are plug and play desks – that are convenient and cheap for short-term requirements.

A hybrid space will embrace both traditional office elements with flexispace options. It will usually have sections or floors that can be leased on traditional terms – and under the same roof have flexible options, hot desks, meeting rooms for hire etc.

A managed office is a private workspace that has been leased to a singular company for a determined period. The managed office will be fitted out to the tenants’ requirements and is usually inclusive of fittings, fixtures, utilities, and maintenance. However, personalization of the space and unauthorised works are not permitted.

A membership to a property works the same way as a gym-membership. It is an access pass to either a desk, area or office within a flexispace. Usually paid on a monthly basis and can include access to extra amenities and facilities dependent on the building.

A traditional office space lease, also known as conventional - covers usages rights of a space, usually laid out in square feet or square metres per annum for commercial purposes under a contract. The terms within the contract may differ depending on the property and business type. It does not usually cover business rates, service charge, customization or fit-out and maintenance fees. The Tenant/ Lessee signs a contract with a Landlord/ Lessor called Heads of Terms and will be able to negotiate fees and deposit. The Tenant also will have to consider dilapidation costs, which are to return the space to the same condition in which it was rented, apart from standard wear and tear. A floor plan will often be provided, to allow the company to design the space for a combination of desks, open spaces, and meeting rooms – or whatever fits their requirements.

A virtual office operates as web-based office productivity comprised of software and services. It offers businesses the opportunity to have a mailing address which is geared towards start-ups, influencers, and small businesses. A virtual office can also be useful for businesses who have adopted a work-from-home model – but still need some features of an office. Their services can include reception switchboard, use of the registered address, mail handling, meeting room hire, and message taking.



This is an abbreviation for Authorised Guarantee Agreement. It is commonplace for Leases to insist on an Authorised Guarantee Agreement when assigning the Lease from one occupier to another making the previous owner of the lease financially liable if the new occupier defaults.

This is the technical term which covers either the lease assignment or sub-letting of an existing lease.

This is the transfer of the Leasehold interest whereby the existing Tenant steps away from the transaction and the new tenant takes over a direct contract with the Landlord.

Each property has a planning use as set out in the Use Classes Order. The code for office use is B1.

Also known as an Option to Determine – This can be Landlord bias, Tenant bias or be mutual. It is common practice that there is a notice period that would need to be given in writing prior to the break option date.

Commonly abbreviated to “Cat A” – This is the term given to the internal arrangement of an office building prior to receiving a occupiers fit-out. A Cat A specification would include a floor (where a raised floor is provided), ceiling, lighting, air conditioning (where provided) and items installed such as lifts and WC’s.

Commonly abbreviated to “Cat B” – This is the technical name given to an occupier fit-out/build-out. This would include divisional walls, meeting rooms, reception area, kitchen area and any other modification required as part of the built-out.

At the end of a Lease the Tenant is usually obliged to reinstate the premises into the condition, either as they took it or as described in the Lease. Any building works to achieve this are known as dilapidations.

Also abbreviated to FR&I – This is a typical lease structure for a self-contained building or an “effective Full Repairing Lease” by way of the Service Charge in a multi-occupied building. This means that the Tenant is responsible, either solely or collectively (where multi-tenanted), for the exterior repairs to the building.

This is the term given for newly constructed or refurbished accommodation, which is built to a high specification, but is frequently confused with Category A.

This Statute covers the Security of Tenure and Compensation Provisions for tenants. It provides a court procedure for the renewal of leases and sets out compensation provisions in the event that leases are not renewed.

This is the name given to a Tenant. Typically used in a sub-letting context.

This is the name given to an occupier who is a Tenant, but also a Landlord. Typically used in a sub-letting context.

This is the common phrase which refers to a lease not being covered by the 1954 Landlord & Tenant Act. This means that there is no automatic right of renewal of the lease – it is only by mutual agreement and the occupier is not eligible for compensation.

This stands for Per Annum Exclusive. This is displayed after a rent amount and means that the rent stated is excluding business rates, service charge, insurance and/or VAT.

This is the term given to a transaction where a Contract agreeing to lease the premises is taken during the refurbishment or construction phase of the property. An “off-plan” pre-let is when a building construction is only started once a Tenant has contracted to take a lease on the property.

This means Per Square Foot and is the traditional measurement of annual rent.

It is common for rents to be described as a flat monetary value. Example: £40.00psf. This means the rental is £40.00 per square foot per annum, exclusive of rates and service charge. Despite the introduction of metric sizes, the office leasing market still works on an imperial basis.

This is a document which is used to demonstrate the state of repair at the start of the Lease. It is common for it to be photographically based and is used at the end of the Lease when agreeing dilapidations with the Landlord.

This is the term given to offices which have not received a Category A finish by the Developer. The units typically will have concrete floors, walls and ceiling with no lighting, electricity, air conditioning or services installed.

Also sometimes known as Under-Letting – This is where the current occupier acts as an intermediate Landlord and brings in a Tenant that pay them rent which they in turn then pay the Landlord.

Central London Office Space

Area spotlights: London locations we cover

Related services