The end of the world as we know it?

January 12, 2021

2020 saw life change for us all with unprecedented changes in our personal and working lives. Indeed, months of restrictions in our working conditions and movements has been tough on us all.   

Whilst the Government suggested that landlords should be sympathetic to the plight of their tenants and from our experience as a company those that could, did try their best with rental reductions or other such schemes where their own personal circumstances allowed.  Of course, what about lease expiries – well they continued undeterred by the ongoing pandemic.

It is safe to say that Dilapidations remains a huge part of the Building Consultancy Department’s daily workload – in the last few weeks of 2020 we settled in excess of £750k in claims.  All, oddly enough, for substantial Industrial premises.

One of these claims saw us acting for a long established client who occupies premises throughout Britain.  This particular property being south of the border (which was inspected before lockdown struck) was inherited by our client during a company acquisition.  With their staff being redeployed to their current premises in the nearby city, the lease was allowed to expire.  The premises themselves formed a considerable industrial warehouse with a separate linked single storey office building.  The premises being of an age with significant obligations for repair and maintenance, the landlord opted to tender the works in an effort to prove their loss.  Through various rounds of negotiation, we were still able to negotiate a 20% reduction in the landlords claim.

The remaining 2 instructions, alluded to above, saw us acting for a long established developer client who has developed out an industrial estate in Aberdeen.  Both premises comprised substantial industrial premises with self-contained 2 storey office accommodation, a model which is typical of the Industrial premises offered in Aberdeen but atypical of the offering elsewhere in the country.  The premises had both been let from new with both tenants actually vacating well before the lease end.  With the leases ending in lockdown, this did actually allow us the opportunity to inspect as restrictions in terms of social distancing were not applicable.  We also managed to have a socially distanced meeting with each respective tenant’s surveyor on site and managed to conclude the negotiations swiftly to allow the landlords the ability to commence their works as close to the end of the lease as possible.

So, whilst working from home and maintaining social distancing does bring with it many challenges in our daily working environment, it doesn’t mean that the world stops turning – not by a long way.

For further advice on how our Building Consultancy team can assist you with your commercial property, please don’t hesitate to contact Jim Johnstone E: jim.johnstone@fgburnett.co.uk

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