One area that can be a concern when purchasing commercial property is any issues arising in the form or environmental issues which may impact on the property now and in the future.
Before proceeding with a property purchase we will perform a desktop environmental survey of the site, to identify any environmental risks of which we need to be aware. If the survey highlights areas of concern, in many cases the existing owners of the property can provide suitable documentation (from the previous acquisition of the property) that will address those concerns adequately.
In some instances it will be necessary for us to contact the local Environment Agency for details of any action they are planning to take in relation to the identified environmental hazards. This may necessitate that a more expensive insurance policy is put in place by the scheme members (although insurance premiums can be paid by the pension scheme).
An alternative arrangement available to SSAS schemes is to have the property purchased by the scheme subject to a Restriction of Title. The corporate trustees of the scheme will not be the legal owners of the property, and so are not liable for any expenses relating to the actions of the Environment Agency, but the property cannot be disposed of without our agreement.
The members may still wish to make their own arrangements to identify and insure against environmental hazards.