1. Business Rates
The Government introduced a package of measures under the Expanded Retail Discount scheme which provided 100% relief to those that fall into Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Sectors. Relief should have been granted automatically but we have had lengthy battles across the UK who have based their decision on an incorrect interpretation of legislation. We have been successful on over 1,000 properties and won some landmark decisions in England, Wales and Scotland. The window to apply for the RHL Grant has now closed but 2020/21 retail discount can still be applied for.
COVID created a Material Change in Circumstances (MCC) and we have raised checks seeking long term rateable value reductions from 23 March 2020. It is essential to raise the initial Check whilst covid restrictions are still in place otherwise the opportunity will be lost. With all this focus on Covid, many have forgotten that you can still appeal against the RV and backdate savings to 1 April 2017. The current Rating List has been extended by 2 years and now runs until 31 March 2023, when a new rating list will come into effect. Speak to use to get a bespoke strategy for your property or portfolio.
2. Leasehold Property
Whether you occupy a property portfolio or individual property then there is scope to re-gear the lease or agree a rent holiday to be repaid at a later date. We have undertaken widespread negotiations on behalf of a range of clients, achieving substantial rent-free incentives in exchange for additional term commitments. Lease regearing remains a cost-effective method of making your leasehold property work harder for you. If you’re facing lease renewals then the terms agreed should reflect the market difficulties.
Lease end dilapidations/repairs will take longer to complete due to working restrictions so plan earlier. A 12-18 month window is ideal but savings can typically be made whatever time you get professional advisors on board.
Don’t be caught out by break clauses which require full compliance with ALL lease terms in order to be successful – Landlords are doing everything possible to frustrate break notices so don’t get caught out. Take early advice, plan properly and you can avoid problems.
3. Freehold Property
If you need to generate finance, whether to fund business investment/development or to assist through Covid then the Sale & Leaseback is an increasingly popular solution. This allows you to sell the freehold to an investor who lets the property back to you at a market rent. To to your staff and customers, nothing changes. You remain in occupation but release substantial capital for whatever purpose you require.
There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to commercial property – speak to use for a discussion about your particular situation.