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023 8081 1664

info@maughanmitchell.co.uk   |   LinkedIn

Case studies from some of our clients…

Office Acquisition - Fleming Court, Eastleigh

Langdowns DFK logo

Acting on behalf of accountancy firm, Langdowns DFK, we successfully Acquired the Long Leasehold interest in their 11,500 sq ft office headquarters building, which is prominently situated close to Junction 13 of the M3, fronting Leigh Road, Eastleigh.

The acquisition followed a sustained period of negotiations with the head lessee, involving careful analysis of the Long Leasehold interest and the associated valuation implications.

The £1.5m transaction also involved discussion with the freeholders, Eastleigh Borough Council and has resulted in Langdowns securing their future at the property and providing them with a Property Asset with significant potential.

Office Acquisition Fleming Court Eastleigh

Industrial Land Acquisition - Empress Road, Southampton

We concluded the Acquisition of three adjoining parcels of industrial land in Northam, Southampton, representing a strategically important Property Purchase by Pinhill Ltd, an associated company of Covers, the builders merchants.

Two sites were purchased on a Freehold basis and a third as a Long Leasehold site, which involved simultaneous Lease Regear negotiations, to provide a new 125 year lease term.

We provided valuation advice and successfully negotiated to secure the properties despite intense interest from competing parties.

There were a number of legal issues relating to the site to overcome, but we worked closely with our client and their solicitor to resolve these prior to completion.

Pinhill now have exciting plans to redevelop the site to provide new industrial accommodation and also to improve the access to their Covers facility directly off Empress Road.

New Leases Agreed for VFS, at Barton Park, Eastleigh

VFS Scattolini logo

Maugham Mitchell successfully advised client VFS, negotiating their Lease Renewals.

Following client instructions, we initially considered the acquisition of an alternative site from Ford, on Wide Lane, Eastleigh; a site well known to us, through Business Rates advice Chris Sullivan had provided to Ford.

After considering alternative options VFS decided to renew their existing leases, which had been agreed in 2015 by Maughan Mitchell, as long as suitable flexible terms could be secured, a potentially difficult task in a strong warehouse market.

Facing a large increase in rent, on their 66,000 Sq Ft warehouse / production facility, with 140,000 Sq Ft of yard, we entered into detailed lease negotiations, over several months, with JLL, who were advising the estate owner IPIF / Legal & General.

The result was us securing a reduction 20% below the rents initially proposed and levels reflecting the lowest in the region. Further, this was on the basis of very flexible terms, with annual breaks secured after the second year of the agreed 5 year lease. Significant rent incentives were also secured for VFS.

New Leases Agreed for VFS at Barton Park Eastleigh

Goodbye to the Rhino Club, Southampton

orchard homes logo

It was with mixed feelings and some nostalgia that we acted for Orchard Homes, in helping with their Business Rates liability on the old Rhino Nightclub in Southampton. This had been a fond and regular nightspot for 1/3 of Maughan Mitchell in the early 1990s!

The nightclub closed in 2014 and has been in a state of decay over recent years. However, as is usual, the building was subject to Empty Rates, an obvious unwanted problem for our client Orchard Homes, following their purchase of the building in early 2020.

Following instructions, we advised Orchard regarding their redevelopment of the site, in terms of the Business Rates implications. This included ‘our’ first visit into the building for over 20 years! The building was found to be in a sad state, but the visit still produced some fond memories.

Orchard, as an experienced developer, had the foresight to involve us early on. This enabled us to help them take the necessary action, leading to an early deletion of the existing two Rating Assessments. Following the lodging of Rates Appeals, to the Valuation Office, we successfully argued the building was ‘Incapable of Beneficial Occupation’ and undergoing significant works to change it from its original state. During negotiations, the Valuation Office accepted our position and agreed deletions, from the start of strip out works.

Savings to the client were in excess of £30,000, a significant sum in the scheme of the development.

Rhino Nightclub in Southampton

Britannia House, Luton - Business Rates Advice – Site under Redevelopment

petchey holdings logo

Advising Petchey’s Asset Management team, Maughan Mitchell were success in removing, the recently acquired, Britannia House from the Rating List and securing Rates Relief from the Local Authority.

The significant landmark office building extending to 29,489 Sq Ft forms part of the larger Britannia Industrial Estate, extending to 323,401 Sq Ft.

At the point of instructing us to act, Britannia House was empty, with the Business Centre, as was, having closed a few months after Petchey’s acquisition. Following this planning permission had been secured, for the conversation to Residential Apartments, including an extension to the building and early initial strip out and surveys, including for asbestos, had been undertaken.

On considering the position, we found the rates charges at Britannia House to be fairly complicated, with a large number of Rating Assessments. Most of these were subject to an Empty Rates charge, with some being below the charging threshold and occupied rates incorrectly applying to some Assessments.

Maughan Mitchell undertook a thorough review with Petchey and following instructions and provision of advice, we took the dual action of –

Contacting the Local Authority, requesting Rates Relief, due to the presence of disturbed asbestos, as a result on an invasive asbestos survey.

Starting Appeal action, by lodging ‘Checks’ with the Valuation Office, seeking the deletion of all existing Rating Assessments, from the date of the invasive asbestos survey, prior to asbestos removal and initial strip out works.

In discussions with the authorities we used our expert knowledge, especially around Rating Legislation and Case Law and of particular use was a statement secured from the IRRV, who responded to questions regarding legislation around ‘Occupation Prohibited by Law’ and asbestos. As a result of in-depth discussions we were able to successfully persuade the Local Authority and Valuation Office that rates should not be charged and the existing Rating Assessments should be deleted from the Rating List, wiping the majority of Petchey’s Rates Liability from the date of acquisition onwards.

Total Savings, as a result of our activity for Petchey’s Asset Management team, amounted to in excess of £100,000, being all the Business Rates due from the date of initial asbestos surveys, following acquisition of the building, up until the future completion of the Residential Apartments being created.

Britannia House, Luton - Business Rates Advice – Site under Redevelopment

Business Rates Grants and Reliefs due to Covid 19 – Swiss Services, Winchester; AB Building Products, Andover; Beech Hill Garage, Reading; Lainston Securities and Strongroom, Southampton

Business Rates Grants and Reliefs due to Covid 19

Through 2020 Maughan Mitchell secured significant wins for a number of clients who found their businesses adversely impacted by the ‘lockdown’ due to Covid 19, helping them through the difficult time.

Following ‘lockdown’ the Government announced an extension to their existing Retail Relief scheme, known as the ‘Expanded Retail Discount’ to include all retail properties, regardless of size of Rateable Value and extended to include Leisure and Hospitality – reducing Business Rates to zero for 2020/21. On top of this, grants were introduced by the Government, under three schemes – ‘coronavirus Small Business Grant Fund’, ‘coronavirus Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund’ and ‘coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund’, with qualifying businesses receiving payments from councils.

In theory the appropriate Business Rates Reliefs and Coronavirus Grants should have been simple enough to secure by businesses, but a number of our clients found this not to be the case and turned to us for support.

For our clients, we successfully brought Rating Assessments into the Rating List and secured Rateable Value reductions to enable qualification for Reliefs and Grants, negotiated with Local Councils for Reliefs and Grants to be applied, being persistent with reasoned argument and petitioned local MPs and the Government to support our clients, where Local Councils were reluctant to help (with some councils feeling they could not help due to the specific wording of Government Guidance).

The clients we have supported secured benefit, by way of Reliefs and Grants in excess of £500,000, as a result of our persistence and negotiation with the authorities.

Business Rates Grants and Reliefs due to Covid 19

Carpet Barn, Ferndown Industrial Estate, Wimborne, Dorset – Rent Review Advice

Carpet Barn, Ferndown Industrial Estate, Wimborne, Dorset

Maughan Mitchell acted for, long-standing Business Rates client, Carpet Barn, in Rent Review negotiations, on their 20,000 Sq Ft retail warehouse / warehouse unit, located within the main commercial area of Ferndown, Dorset.

The landlord initiated the November 2019 Rent Review proposing a whopping 75% increase, up from the rent level agreed at lease commencement in 2004, working off an area of 20,370 Sq Ft.

Upon inspection with the landlord’s agent we were able to agree a lower floor area, taking off over 200 Sq Ft from that initially proposed, as well as agreeing useful factual detail, including that the subject had certain disadvantages including its long narrow site and irregular shape.

As usual, we undertook a comprehensive review of rental evidence across the estate and wider area and considered each comparable building and transaction, with particular focus on the specific detail of the subject, including it’s age and quality, office content, shape, size, location and the lease terms. By drilling into the detail and engaging the landlord’s agent in in-depth negotiations, over several months, we were able to reduce the landlord’s expectations considerably, finally agreeing a 20% increase; modest in the marketplace, particularly considering the limited availability of warehouse space and the use of the premises.

Rent Savings, over the period to the next Rent Review in 2024, amounted to in excess of £250,000.

Carpet-Barn-Ferndown-Industrial-Estate

Town Quay, Southampton - Business Rates Advice

Maughan Mitchell have been successfully advising Associated British Ports in rating matters for over 20 years.

Town Quay, Southampton has been subject to significant change over the last decade. Over this period we have worked closely with ABP, enabling us to successfully minimise their rating liabilities and those of their tenants. Work undertaken includes the reduction of Rating Assessments, securing temporary benefit during periods of building works to common areas and most notably securing Zero Assessments where parts have fallen out of use and have required refurbishment / redevelopment.

Total Savings as a result of our activity for ABP amounted to in excess of £750,000.

Associated British Ports

AGEAS Bowl, Southampton - Rating Advice

hilton hotels logo

Acting for Hilton Hotels, we have significantly reduced the Rating Liability at the Home of Hampshire Cricket.

On receiving instructions, we explored the level of the Rating Assessments and examined the need for the number of assessments which existed.

Following the lodging of Business Rates Appeals, we entered into detailed negotiations with the Valuation Office. By putting forward detailed evidence, from comparable cricket grounds and hotels, we were able to successfully negotiate a reduction in the hotel assessment, from £730,000 to £480,000 Rateable Value, producing benefit under both the 2010 and 2017 Rating Lists. Further, we were able to reduce the Cricket Ground assessment, merging in the Perform Sports Clinic into the Stadium Assessment, resulting in a £40,000 reduction in Rateable Value.

The aggregate value of the benefit secured was in excess of £800,000.

Bristol - Rates Advice

Hargreaves Lansdown

Maughan Mitchell were instructed to advise Hargreaves Lansdown, in minimising their rates liabilities, during their move to new 100,000 sq ft HQ offices, in Bristol Harbourside.

Through negotiations with the Valuation Office, we successfully achieved a phasing in of their Rating Assessments for the new HQ building, while mitigating rates on their existing locations in Clifton. Further, we were able to produce additional Rates Savings by securing a reduction in the new building’s Assessment and a temporary allowance during the period of neighbouring building works.

Business Rates Savings from our efforts was in excess of £2,000,000.

Southampton – Lease Renewal and Re-gear advice

Paris Smith LLP logo

Acting on behalf of, Paris Smith LLP, a large provincial legal practice, we provided strategic landlord and tenant advice, in relation to the two substantial office buildings they occupied on a leasehold basis.

We successfully negotiated a new lease on their 20,000 sq ft landmark building, with only a modest rent uplift agreed and significant incentives – 50% rent for the first three years of the new lease. This was achieved despite a climate of increasing office rents prevailing at the time, due to a limited supply of available stock.

We also provided advice in relation to their ‘sister’ building which culminated in the removal of a tenant only break clause in return for a nine month rent free period.

The aggregate value of the incentives secured was well in excess of £750,000.

paris smith southampton

Alresford, Hampshire - Rent Review advice

Wessex Pharmacies logo

Maughan Mitchell acted on behalf of the tenants of three adjoining retail units in the popular market town of Alresford, advising them in relation to rent reviews due under their respective leases.

The tenants, who included Wessex Pharmacies, Fitique and Sole Butchers (who had the same landlord) were served with potentially business crippling review notices proposing rental increases of 60-70%.

We carried out extensive research into transactional rental evidence and pieced together a comprehensive and accurate picture of rents in the area. Armed with this we engaged in detailed negotiations with the landlord’s agent and ultimately agreed much more modest increases of less than 20%.

We also took the opportunity to negotiate lease extensions on behalf of two of the tenants who were keen to preserve their future at the location and used this to leverage incentives from the landlord by deferring the rental increases on review by 12 months and agreeing rent free periods.

Wessex Pharmacies Alresford Hampshire

Land at Britannia Road, Northam, Southampton – Acquisition advice

Acting on behalf of a private investor Maughan Mitchell advised on the acquisition of a number of industrial properties in Northam, Southampton.

The instruction involved negotiating the purchase of freehold properties from Southampton City Council and also of buildings subject to complicated ground lease arrangements.

Although the transaction was complex involving a number of different interests the client was able, with our support, to acquire strategically important buildings at highly competitive prices to facilitate future business expansion.

Acquisition advice Britannia Road Northam Southampton