Services : Commercial Surveys

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Valuations

PROPERTY PURCHASE

Buying a new property to accommodate your business, or perhaps as an investment, we can offer a full range of survey and valuation advice, on all styles of Low and Medium-rise, commercial property - industrial, office or retail, purpose built or converted.

RENT REVIEWS & LEASE RENEWALS

We act for both tenants and landlords in reviewing the rent paid under commercial leases, on most types of commercial property. Rent reviews do need Professional advice because not only is research into the market levels of rent essential but also an understanding of the nature of the liability within the lease. Similarly, at the end of a lease we can advise either landlord or tenant on the appropriate level of rent for the new lease.

Business Rates Appeal

The new Rateable Value list came into effect as of April 2010. If you believe the rates your business pays to be excessive them we can prepare, submit and negotiate an appeal on your behalf.

The effect of any reduction might well be marginalised by Transitional Relief or Small Business Relief etc in the first year or so but of course, any reduction secured would benefit your business for the next five years until the next Re-valuation.

You would be well advised to be wary of Rating Cowboys - such that you may have seen as the subject of various media reports. Pay no money, whether fees or expenses up front.

With ourselves, for example, before VAT, our charging basis is £325 + 5% of the reduction in the Rateable Value and you are only invoiced once the case has been settled.

Agricultural

Based just outside the city of Manchester, extensive and quality agricultural land is far from the norm but horse stabling and grazing is currently very popular.

We act for several landlords and tenants of urban agricultural and grazing lands, dealing with land lettings, vetting prospective tenants and conducting rent reviews/lease renewals.

G. Philip Wilson FRICS, a Consultant to this practice, is based is the South Lake District area and deals with agricultural valuation work on a daily basis, acting for various specialist clients as well as being a member of the Tenant Farmers Association.

Philip is also on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Panel of Arbitrators and Independent Experts and has over 40 years experience in valuation.

Surveys

DILAPIDATIONS

Dilapidations are breaches of covenant contained in a lease, to repair a building.

Such breaches can take many forms, but a leaking roof or a broken window are two obvious examples.

Dilapidations are often wrongly considered by tenants as insignificant in comparison with rent, rates and service charges when they are seeking new premises.

However, the liability to repair can have serious financial implications and therefore the tenant must seek advice of a Chartered Surveyor on opportunities to avoid, limit or mitigate dilapidations before entering into a lease, or when a schedule of dilapidations has been served upon him.

SCHEDULE OF DILAPIDATIONS

Where disrepair occurs, the landlord may serve a Schedule of Dilapidations upon the tenant. The form of schedule is partly dictated by the time at which it is served but essentially it will either be an interim schedule of dilapidations, if served during the lease term, or a terminal schedule of dilapidations, if it is served at the end or after the lease term.

An interim or terminal schedule specifies both the disrepair alleged by the landlord and the remedial works which the landlord requires the tenant to undertake.

However, while a final schedule will also contain the alleged breaches of covenant and details of remedial work required, the tenant may have no option to actually carry the works out if occupation has already ended.

Therefore, the landlord's remedy in respect of a final schedule is a claim for damages which will include not only the cost of remedial works, but also loss of rent, service charges, rates, professional fees and VAT for the period during which the property cannot be occupied as a result of the disrepair.

STATUTORY RELIEF FOR THE TENANT

Two principal forms of statutory relief from dilapidations may be available to the tenant but you would need to liaise closely with your solicitor on such matters to be certain of your footing.

In the case of a final schedule and corresponding claim for damages, the tenant may seek some limitation by Section 18(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927.

Essentially, the landlord cannot recover damages which exceed the loss of value of his investment that may have been caused by tenant's breach of covenant.

Then, there is potentially an absolute defence against a final schedule of dilapidations, if the tenant can demonstrate that the landlord plans to demolish or significantly alter or improve the premise – such that any repairs the tenant might be responsible for are, in any case, irrelevant.
If the tenant can prove this, no damages will be recoverable by the landlord.

Here at Peter Cunliffe & Co, we can advise in the following areas:

  1. For the Landlord, we can actually prepare an accurate schedule of the dilapidations issues that will stand scrutiny and essentially form the basis of the landlord’s case, should the matter ever get to Court.
  2. For the Tenant, we can assess whether the scope of the landlord’s schedule of dilapidations is accurate and whether the standard of repair required by the schedule is justified (which will be set out within the lease terms).
  3. We can also consider whether any statutory reliefs may be available to the tenant; and if not, advise the tenant how and when any repairs should be conducted or whether negotiation of a financial settlement in lieu of damages would be preferable.

Each dilapidations scenario is different but if you speak to one of the partners here, we can talk you through what we could do to help your situation and what level of fees you would be incurring.

SCHEDULE OF CONDITION: REPAIR, REDECORATION & REINSTATEMENT

There are two basic types of lease:

In a full repairing and insuring lease, the tenant is responsible for all repairs to the property. This type of lease is usual when the tenant occupies all of the building.

An internal repairing and insuring lease provides for the tenant to be responsible for all the repairs to the internal fabric - and the landlord for the external repairs, roof, structure etc, and plant and machinery, for example, boilers and lifts.

The cost of a landlord's work in connection with repairs to the building is sometimes charged to the tenants in the form of a service charge. Sometimes, the rent payable by the tenant is increased to reflect the landlord’s financial risk.

Even if a capped service charge exists, it is sensible to instruct a surveyor to inspect and survey the property to establish if the service charge is set at a realistic level.

Repairing covenants by their nature impose obligations on a tenant, which, on the termination of the lease, can be financially onerous. Our surveyors are able to advise you in respect of future liabilities.

We provide a schedule of condition, a report supported by colour photographs, that clearly shows the condition of the property at the outset of the lease and this report will not only help to limit your future liabilities to the landlord but will also help you to plan your upcoming maintenance regime.

BUILDING SURVEY

It is equally important if you are buying you commercial premises to commission a survey report before you commit yourself to the purchase.
Our surveyors can provide you with a detailed Building Survey report that will outline the current condition and highlight issues such as dampness, structural movement, the presence of asbestos etc.

In this way, not only can your future maintenance programme can be planned but you can determine whether you will proceed with the purchase of the property at all.