The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) has launched a new Real Estate Helpline for members, in partnership with Associate Member Weightmans LLP.

The new service, which extends UKWA’s wide portfolio of business support services for members, provides an initial 30 minutes consultation free-of-charge, encompassing a range of legal issues.

Members can seek advice on the practical provisions of existing or new leases, from what their lease covers and who is responsible for what under its terms, to alterations and activities that are permitted and those that are not, dilapidation payments and recourse for defective build.

Commenting on the introduction of UKWA’s Real Estate Helpline, CEO Peter Ward said, “A number of factors are driving the issue of real estate up the agenda for UKWA, not least the continued growth of our industry, predicted by the British Property Foundation and highlighted at our National Conference in March, with online spending expected to double, driving requirement for 21m sq ft of extra warehousing every year for the next 20 years.

“Since then the curve has steepened significantly, due the COVID-19 lockdown. The online grocery market alone is now forecast to grow 25.5% in 2020 – significantly ahead of the 8.5% previously anticipated. Add this to the likely demand for additional space for inventory as Brexit brings risk of supply chain interruption and the future picture for members is one of warehouse expansion and acquisition of new premises.”

With UKWA’s recent survey also revealing that 60% of members are tenants rather than owners, the need for professional support in the form of a free service to help with navigation of complex leases is clear.

Specialist solicitors from Weightmans’ national 90 strong Real Estate team will provide preliminary advice on these matters and more. The service will be led by Real Estate Partner Matthew Williamson, who works within the transport and logistics sector and is Weightmans’ national head of retail. Matthew’s principal work is on landlord and tenant matters, he also advises on property acquisitions and disposals.

Peter Ward concludes, “We are delighted to be working with our specialist partner and Associate Member Weightmans to be offering this important service to our members. This is the first stage of a wider focus on Real Estate and additional member benefits that we will be rolling out shortly.”