10/04/18
RICS has published some incredibly helpful guidance on the impact of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), which come into force on 1st April. This is their introduction:

“This insight paper provides an introduction to MEES and the potential impact of the regulations on UK property management and valuation. The scope and various exemptions of MEES for non-domestic and domestic properties is also discussed as well as advice for landlords.”

Previous guidance has been a little contradictory and practical advice from RICS helps deal with the implications of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and MEES rules. Some particular highlights of the paper are

1. NO NEED TO OBTAIN AN EPC ON LEASE RENEWALS
“Buildings that have yet to require an EPC under the original Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) because they have not been marketed for sale or for a letting since April 2007 will also be out of scope until the time that an EPC is required.”

This means the MEES requirements to obtain an EPC and hold a Rating of A-E doesn’t apply to renewals of tenancies on properties that have never required an EPC. This is an important issue in considering lease expiry options at the end of long term tenancies.

2. CONTINUING LEASES
Continuing Domestic lettings will be required to comply with MEES (A-E EPC Rating) by April 2020 and continuing Non-Domestic lettings must comply by April 2023. When a property has not been required to hold an EPC, a further reprieve is found. The impact on residential letting is currently under consultation and the impact on the Buy-to-Let Market may be significant. Further consideration needs to be given to all commercial lettings.

3. EPC OBLIGATIONS
EPCs are valid for 10 years. As older EPCs (2008-2010) were often less stringent, there is a strong prospect that an E Rated property would now achieve a non-compliant F Rating. It is noted that there is no need to update the EPC unless a new letting or sale (See Definition) takes place. It follows that updated EPCs may not be required on lease renewal, although this doesn’t appear certain.

4. NO SCOPE FOR MEES ON SALES AND ASSIGNMENT
“Importantly, the regulations do not prevent the sale of buildings and do not affect the assignment of an existing lease…”

An EPC is required for a sale or lease assignment, but the Rating does not need to be within Band A-E for the transaction to take place. If an assigned Lease (after April 2007) is then renewed, then a Band A-E Rating will be required. There may be some interesting options arising from this issue.

Please obtain specific advice on your individual property before acting on these notes and we encourage you to read the RICS Insight paper:

http://www.rics.org/Global/MEES_impact_UK_property_insight_March_2018mr.pdf

Government guidance on EPCs is also helpful, especially:

“Transactions not considered to be a sale or rent
The purpose of providing an EPC during the sale or renting process is to enable potential buyers or tenants to consider the energy performance of a building as part of their investment. Not all transactions will be considered to be a sale or let to which the duties apply. These will include:
  • lease renewals or extensions
  • compulsory purchase orders
  • sales of shares in a company, which does not involve the sale of the building in which that company is located, where buildings remain in company ownership
  • lease surrenders
There may be other types of transaction that it might be argued do not require an EPC, for example, living accommodation at a workplace and tied to a job, or not-for-value transactions, but this will depend on the individual circumstances of any case.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/666186/A_guide_to_energy_performance_certificates_for_the_construction_sale_and_let_of_non-dwellings.pdf



16/03/18
Spring Statement 2018
The Chancellor has confirmed in this week’s Spring Statement that the next revaluation, currently due in 2022, will be brought forward to 2021, with the intention of moving to 3 yearly revaluations thereafter. This is welcome news for businesses as rateable values will be more akin to market rental values.

The government has also promised to maintain funding for the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) at the next Spending Review, which is essential if the rating system is to become more efficient.

The government also intends to stick to the current system of using rental values, rather than some form of self-assessment. This is very positive as most businesses understand rental values and the alternatives could have resulted in additional costs for occupiers.

2017 Rating List and Check Challenge Appeal
Almost a year into the new Check Challenge Appeal rating system and matters are still slow. A recent survey showed that 89% of users are dissatisfied. We continue to make representations through our own business and professional bodies to encourage improvements.

However I’m pleased to say that many of our clients have now registered their premises with the VOA’s Government Gateway using our Step-by-Step Guide. If you’ve not done this yet please get back to me so that we can start the process by sending you a draft Authority to Act to sign.

2010 Rateable Values
There is still a backlog of appeals against 2010 rateable values that are being processed by the VOA. If you still have outstanding appeals, we can assure you that we’ll continue to press your case for a resolution as soon as possible, and we will report back to you when things start to progress.

2018/19 Rates Bills
In the meantime you should be starting to receive your business rates bills for 2018/19. If you have not already done so please could you send us a copy to check they are in line with our expectations?

Our clients
Our clients range from smaller respected local companies to larger corporate businesses and institutions with a national profile, and we also act on a consultancy basis for property companies that do not have their own rating specialists. Over the last 10 years we have saved our clients £15 million and over 95% of our appeals are successful, resulting in average savings of £20,031.

Kit Rabette
Rating Surveyor Consultant for Day and Bell Surveyors Limited.

kit.rabbette@dayandbell.co.uk
11/12/17
2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). To celebrate this milestone, they are launching a Pride in the Profession initiative to showcase the significant and positive impact surveyors have made to society.

The RICS is also noting the changes in technology available to the profession with this recent article on the use of drones From Gamer to Surveyor. Day and Bell has used drones for the last few years, although the Licensing has limited our application for clients.

In the absence of skills in ‘Minecraft’, we’ve adopted the alternative to gaming as a Surveyor flying over history.



















To learn more about Day and Bell’s ideas for RICS’s 150 anniversary please follow our News Blog.


05/12/17
As usual there is much hype about the Budget. The press tend to focus on the price of a pint of beer and a packet of cigarettes, but sifting through the detail to conclude how it will affect your business is more difficult. To make it easier we’ve looked at the changes in respect of business rates, and how they’re likely to impact your business:
  1. Business Rates Multiplier - this is the figure that is used to calculate the rate in the £ for your business rates bills. From next April it will be changed from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index. This is good news for future rates bills as the CPI is currently lower than RPI and is more stable, giving more certainty. We trust CPI will remain lower than RPI, but of course that’s not guaranteed.
  2. The ‘Staircase Tax’- this is what the press call the Woolway V Mazars decision of the Supreme Court. This case was started by Paul Rabette many years ago for his client Mazars. The Valuation Office doggedly took it through every level of court in the land (and lost) until the Supreme Court agreed with them. The Chancellor has said that this decision will be overturned, which is really pleasing, as it was inequitable to ratepayers with several premises in the same building or very close to each other. If you think this might affect you please call us to discuss.
  3. Pub relief - Pubs with a RV of under £100,000 will get another year of £1,000 off their rates bills – which has got to be good news for those of us who use pubs!
  4. Rating Revaluations - There will also be a change to the frequency of rating revaluations, which are supposed to be every 5 years, but the last one was extended to 7 years. This has meant that up until this April premises were valued at 2008 levels, at the height of the market. Changing them to 3 yearly reviews after 2022 will mean that rateable values will reflect changes to the market much sooner than previously.

On the whole we think there are some positive changes, which we hope will help all of us in the longer term.

Government Gateway
The Valuations Office’s new Check Challenge Appeal system is now beginning to bed down. We are pleased to report that many of our clients & tenants have now successfully registered using our Step by Step guide. If you have not done this yet and would like some assistance please get back to us.

The first stage in the process is to sign our Authority to Act, again if you have not done this yet and would like me to send a draft for you to sign please let us know.

If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact paul.rabbette@dayandbell.co.uk.

12/10/17
World Mental Health Day falls on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health and the organisation Mind has stated that this year the message has taken the theme of surviving or thriving, with the focus on why too few of us are thriving with good mental health. Below is a very brief summary on promoting wellbeing.

Day and Bell wish to support this message and to show our commitment to our colleagues' wellbeing we are closing the office at 4.30pm tomorrow.

Five ways to wellbeing:
Connect: Feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world. With this in mind, try to do something different today and really make a connection with your colleagues.
Get Physical: Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Whatever your level of fitness, keep moving…
Take notice: reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness. Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you.
Learning: Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. Join a class or a group to stay in touch, have fun and learn something new.
Give: Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research. Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.

We hope you all enjoy your weekend!

https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/
09/10/17
https://www.pexels.com/photo/stairs-home-loft-lifestyle-2459/

Under the Town and Country
Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016, permitted development will now be allowed for a change of use from Class B1c (Light Industrial) to C3 (Dwellinghouses).

The new change of use, which came into effect on Sunday 1st October 2017, will apply for a temporary period of three years; however, any change of use between these classes in that time will be permanent.


We have seen the influence that the decision to allow the permitted development change from B1a (Offices) to C3 (Dwellinghouses) has had on the level of office stock; however, it will be interesting to see what effect it has on the industrial sector. We already found a shortage of industrial space, with spiralling rents and expect this scenario will continue. The permitted change of use does not allow external alterations, so it is possible Planners may seek to retain employment uses, where they wish to maintain jobs in their area.

An interesting difference to consider is the future of each of these asset classes. With the emergence of serviced office providers, such as; The Office Group and WeWork providing space for the newer, more tech savvy “millennials,” it poses the question of how much longer the more traditional office will needed. In contrast, in the age of instant gratification and next day delivery, the loss of valuable industrial space could prove costly. London’s industrial land stocks are of vital importance to supporting its changing employment market, and we hope London boroughs fight aggressively to protect as much of their land as possible. For now, we will have wait and see what effect this change will have.

More information about the permitted change of use at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/332/article/8/made.
06/10/17
Our landlord and tenant department continues to grow stronger in Highgate London N6, having recently completed various rent review and lease renewal transactions on behalf of landlord clients.

Day and Bell holds a substantial database of comparable evidence to help us negotiate market rents for different user classes in Highgate. The area is supported by affluent residential housing, with trendy shops, arty cafes and restaurants/pubs lining the High Street, while still maintaining picturesque charm.

Our in depth knowledge of the local market, combined with our extensive asset management expertise, means that we are able to provide robust advice to our clients and negotiate best results on their behalf.

Our fee structure makes it affordable for landlords and tenants to seek professional advice on Landlord and Tenant matters.


04/10/17
Day and Bell are managing agents of a large Co-op supermarket and eight retail / residential investments in Park Parade, Hazlemere. This is located in an affluent area of Buckinghmshire a few miles north of High Wycombe.

The changing face of the world of commerce has seen many changes on local retail centres and Park Parade is no exception. Blockbuster Video has been replaced by a local estate agency and a bakers has become a café.

HSBC Bank renewed their lease of their Hazlemere branch and it was something of a surprise when their surveyors contacted us to discuss a possible surrender. Demand was buoyant for retail space and there was competition from a coffee shop chain and takeaways for the premises. Our client decided to proceed with a new letting to Churchill's Fish & Chips. There was a nominal reduction in rental paid by HSBC, but this provided the opportunity to take back the first floor offices for development purposes.

With the close care and attention of a local architect and project manager, planning consent was obtained for the conversion of the ancillary offices to create two new apartments. The development was undertaken last winter and the flats have now been sold for £185,000 for the one bedroom unit and £220,000 for the two bedroom apartment.

The closure of the local bank may not be ideal for the vitality of a local shopping area, although our client has gained an established catering business (12 branches) as a tenant and realised significant gains on the development opportunity.

Day and Bell co-ordinated the professional team and relishes the prospect of seeking new opportunities in the current or a new asset management portfolio.

Before:

















After:

















15/09/17
Day and Bell has completed the letting of 50 Golders Green Road, NW11 to Funeral Services Limited, trading as Co-op Funeralcare. The tenant has taken a new ten year lease, subject to a break and review after five years. The letting of the ground floor shops brings a range of complex asset management initiatives to a satisfactory conclusion.

The shop and two large apartments were previously let to an electronics retailer. The previous tenant terminated their lease with a break notice and Day and Bell then took the initiative. A claim for dilapidations was addressed and the two apartments have been let on five year agreements to a national Housing Association.

The upper maisonette comprised four bedrooms, kitchen and bathrooms, creating a challenge to marketing and a risk of gaining status as a House in Multiple Occupation.
The Housing Association letting provides a market rent, without these risks, or any prospect of voids during the term of their tenancy. The total rent receivable on the property has almost doubled from the previous tenancy and the income security and capital value is dramatically enhanced.

Day and Bell is focussed on asset management as the heart of our business. We welcome future opportunities to add value to your property.
18/08/17
The Day and Bell team enjoyed their weekend away hiking, scrambling, climbing around Peak District.

It was a great day out for the team, ending with sore muscles and smiley faces. Our unique expertise and shared ambition worked well as a team outside the office as well.








Our shared ambition is to achieve great things. We are aiming for the national three peak challenge for next year!