21/01/19


The Harrow Market is a local shopping centre in Langley, near Slough in Berkshire. The development of 17 shops was completed in the late 1960s and retailers have successfully traded there for many years.

A healthy mix of different occupiers and active asset management has been in place and it is remarkable that there have been no new lettings in the centre since the original leases were granted. Changing shopping patterns have led to some units being transferred, resulting in the arrival of a beauticians and Dominos Pizza, although the original healthy range of occupiers has generally stood the test of time.

Nat West Bank previously occupied the double unit at 11/12 The Harrow Market. As part of their branch closure programme, we negotiated an early surrender of Nat West’s lease – subject to a significant premium payment to the Landlord. Day and Bell then offered the first unit in Harrow Market – on the market – in almost 50 years.

Strong interest was received and we are delighted to report that a new letting has completed. Thames Hospice have taken a new ten year lease with a five year break and review. A capital contribution, rent free period and stepped rental was agreed, compensating Thames Hospice for the requirement to install a new shop front, strip-out the bank’s fittings, complete repairs and remove asbestos. The Landlord retains a surplus from the premium received from Nat West and the rental increases from £32,200pa for Nat West to £42,000pa on the letting. 5763 Associates Limited represented the tenant, with Day and Bell acting for the Landlord as letting agents and Asset Managers.

The loss of a clearing bank is not ideal for any shopping centre. However, the attraction of Thames Hospice will draw new customers to Harrow Market. They successfully trade from 20 branches and will provide an upmarket charity shop facility, with a very high standard of fitting-out. We wish Thames Hospice good fortune in Langley and believe they will contribute to the continuing vitality and mix of goods and services available at The Harrow Market.
16/11/18
The biggest news from last week’s budget for many of our clients is the proposed introduction of a new retail relief for up to 90% of High Street properties.

The Chancellor promised to cut liabilities by a third on retail premises with a Rateable Value of up to £51,000 for two years from April 2019 and we understand that the definition of “retail property” will also include car showrooms, restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, bars, etc.

As always, the devil will be in the detail and our rating surveyor consultants will closely monitor progress on implementing the legislation to ensure that all of our qualifying clients benefit from the relief.

Other measures include a new taskforce with a £675m budget to regenerate High Streets nationwide and 100% relief for all stand-alone public lavatories.
16/11/18
The Staircase Tax is a complicated and ever-evolving area within Business Rates. It started with a case that rating surveyor consultant Paul Rabette took to Valuation Tribunal (and resoundingly won, we might add) back in 2010. The Lands Tribunal and the Court of Appeal agreed with the arguments that Paul originally put forward. However, unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not, leading to a landmark decision that introduced the Staircase Tax. This resulted in huge changes in the way that properties are assessed, with lots of occupiers nationwide seeing their properties “split” into multiple assessments – causing an administrative nightmare and often an increase in liability.

The new Act gained Royal Assent on 1 November and provides the opportunity to correct errors caused by the Supreme Court decision. It also allows our rating surveyors to revisit any cases where clients were advised not to appeal or where appeals were withdrawn based on the law as it stood. We can backdate as far as 1st April 2010. Our consultants have already compiled a list of clients that could benefit from this and will be submitting appeals shortly. If you think this may apply to you please contact kit.rabette@dayandbell.co.uk
02/10/18
In recent years Town Planning rules have been relaxed in many respects.

One of the most controversial issues has been the opening up of Permitted Development to convert offices and light industrial space to residential use.

Some commentators suggest this creates opportunities to reduce the dire housing shortage. On the other hand, traditional planning policy aimed to retain employment use on business space.




Day and Bell has been involved with a number of development schemes where office buildings are now apartments and industrial properties have become houses. The changing nature of commerce meant that that there was less requirement for offices in north London, but there are so few buildings remaining that occupiers struggle to find suitable premises. For industrial buildings, the situation is much worse, as manufacturing or storage and distribution businesses cannot find any suitable premises in many London suburbs.

Ultimately Permitted Development has created more sleepy suburbs, with less vibrancy and fewer employees visiting the shops at lunch time – providing further challenges to the vitality of High Streets.

London Borough of Barnet is looking at introducing an Article 4 Direction, where the Permitted Development in the Borough will be stopped. This restriction has been introduced in a number of other Council areas and it may help balance the future use of remaining business space, with housing.

On the other hand the reintroduction of intervention in the property market may seems at odds with the strongly Conservative doctrine of Barnet Councillors, who have privatised most services.

Day and Bell will follow the consultation and others may contribute on https://engage.barnet.gov.uk/ (when Barnet Council place it there). The deadline for comments is 12th November.
02/10/18

We are delighted to welcome Alex Jackson to the team as our newest Graduate Surveyor

Alex graduated from Oxford Brookes University in Summer 2018 and joined Day and Bell immediately in order to start working towards his APC, which he intends to sit in the second session of 2020.

Alex will be supporting the team in a range of professional work, focussing primarily on leasing and letting, landlord and tenant, and property management which will provide him with excellent APC experience.






20/09/18

We are delighted to welcome Anthony Di Maio to the team as our new Graduate Surveyor.

Anthony graduated from Oxford Brookes University in Summer 2017 following which he has been working for Savills at their Richmond HQ office.

He will be assisting with a range of professional work, mainly focussing on landlord & tenant, asset management and valuation instructions which will provide him with excellent APC experience.
13/09/18
The Headquarters of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is a grand old building at Great George Street, on Parliament Square. The balcony of the President’s Apartment is one of the best spots in London and the remainder of the building is quite spectacular, with its Victorian Gothic Revival design.

Perhaps we’re a little biased and have a vested interest, but if any members of the public wish to have a tour on Saturday 22nd September, please see these details below.

http://www.rics.org/uk/news/news-insight/news/rics-london-headquarters-to-open-doors-for-open-house-day
23/05/18
Iron Man Chartered Surveyor Ollie received news today that he has passed his Assessment of Professional Competence. After his strong commitment to professional work and many hours of revision, there was never any doubt. Day and Bell is very proud to welcome our new CHARTERED SURVEYOR into the fold.
26/04/18
After the first month of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) implementation, we’ve found the end of the world is not nigh! With some practical advice and limited expense, our clients have dealt with inadequate Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings on their properties.

Lettings are now in hand and the new tenants will benefit from energy savings.


The implementation of MEES created some concerns and deliberation in the property industry. It was thought that some owners may be left with unlettable buildings, or major expenses for upgrading their premises. From 1st April this year, the MEES rules have meant that it is not generally legal to let commercial properties with an EPC rating less than A-E. It seemed much older stock, or other inefficient buildings, would stand empty unless improvements were made. This may not be the case.

We are dealing with a 2,800 sq ft industrial unit in central London, where a Lease Expiry was under discussion. Our provisional advice showed an EPC Rating of F. As there was no valid Certificate on the property, the MEES rules did not apply and we would have been free to complete the Lease Renewal. However, there was some initial fear that major investment would be required if the tenant left. This may have had an impact on the negotiating position of the Landlord – seeking a more modest rent to ensure the existing tenant renewed. However, our advice indicated that limited improvements to lighting could be made to upgrade energy efficiency and a conservative approach was not necessary. For business reasons, the tenant has chosen to vacate and with their co-operation, limited upgrading works have been carried out on behalf of the Landlord. At a cost of only £325 the EPC Rating was increased to Band E and a re-letting is now in hand.

An office unit in Barnet had an historic EPC Rating of F. A letting fell through in March and it appeared the premises could not now be let. Improvements have been carried out to lighting to gain a new EPC Rating of D and solicitors are instructed to let the property to a new business.

There is a school of thought that the MEES rules may change in the future to set the bar a little higher by requiring a Band D rating for new lettings. The work on the Barnet office has future proofed the property in this respect. If a Band D rating is required for the industrial unit we anticipate that only limited further expenditure will be required.

For further practical guidance on asset management and MEES, please email info@dayandbell.co.uk and we can endeavour to assist.