Bespoke Chartered Surveyors
Commercial Property Search
Established in 2017 as Lowe Chartered Surveyors and expanded to Lowe and Elliott Chartered Surveyors in 2019. We are based in North Staffordshire and we provide a range of high quality residential and commercial surveying services across the immediate and wider region.
Our clients include individuals buying their new home, local and national commercial property owners and commercial tenants of all sizes.
We are small enough to give our clients ‘Director level’ attention and we strive to provide good advice based on our many years of experience, skillsets and qualifications. All of work is provided by Chartered Surveyors who are also RICS Registered Valuers and multi qualified in specialist areas.
Our professionalism and integrity are important to us and these values are an essential ingredient of our service to clients.
We are of course regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Commercial Property Management
The proactive management of your commercial property assets will enhance income and capital values and should not just be about overseeing the day to day repairs and maintenance. We always take the time to understand our client’s needs and therefore our approach is performance led and client focused. We understand that every property and client have different needs so it is important that we take the time to understand each of our clients requirements.
We therefore offer the following Commercial Property Management services;
Collection of rents
- Rent, service charge and insurance rent
- Regular inspections
- Enforcing tenants’ covenants
- Response to on-site incidents
- Liaison over tenants licences for alteration/alienation/user
- Diarised events such as rent review/break clauses
- Dispute resolution
Discharge of landlord’s liabilities
- Fire safety
- Health and safety
- Service charge and repairing covenants
- Contractor liaison/monitoring
- Asbestos register
- Compliance with the Equality Act
- Energy Performance Certificates
- Display Energy Certificates
- Provide general property related advice relating to the subject property
- Maintain a communication system for regular dialogue with tenants and advise you of any management issues
- Prepare rules and regulations for the efficient management of the property
Accounts (carried out in accordance with the RICS Clients Accounting Rules).
- Demand all income including rent and where appropriate, service charges and insurance premiums
- Take reasonable steps to ensure prompt payment of monies due
- Pay the landlord/client, as soon as is practicable, all income due net of management fees
- Provide a monthly/quarterly clients statement detailing income and receipts
- Prepare service charge budgets in conjunction with the landlord
- Administer the service charge and hold an agreed retention or float to cover anticipated expenditure
- Arrange payment of all contractors, suppliers and other disbursements.
Operation of service charge
- Setting a budget
- Tendering /placing/overseeing contracts
- Demand and collection of monies
- Reconciling/certifying expenditure at year-end
- Dispute resolution
- Production of service charge accounts to comply with the RICS Code of Practice.
- Notify where action is required in respect of lease renewals and rent reviews
- Deal with tenants applications in respect of assignments, subletting and alterations.
- Placing of insurance business, if so instructed by the Landlord
- Making recommendations on level of cover
- Pay insurance premiums out of monies collected
- Recovery of premium from tenant
- Claims handling
- Implement insurers’ requirements and recommendations
Residential Mortgage Valuations
We provide mortgage valuations by Chartered Surveyors who are RICS Registered Valuers for all national and specialist lenders and panel managers. We understand the requirements of lenders and work to achieve quick turnaround valuations in the required format, ready for audit and our valuations are to an exceptionally high standard.
We cover the following geographical areas:
- Certain areas of West Midlands
We are one of the very few compulsory purchase specialists left in Staffordshire. Compulsory Purchase has become something of a lost art in recent years following the economic downturn. The subsequent significant reduction in central government spending after the downturn resulted in the drying up of regeneration initiatives and therefore the need for the use of Compulsory Purchase powers.
Whether you own or rent either a commercial or residential property we can help you with our expertise to ensure we negotiate the best compensation package for affected parties. If you are affected by new developments or are likely to be in the future it is important that you seek professional advice.
We have extensive experience of representing affected parties in negotiating a satisfactory settlement with either the acquiring local authority or the District Valuer. We will not only ensure you receive the best advice to secure the correct level of compensation for you but can also advise you on disturbance claims and other issues arising from Compulsory Purchase as well as assisting you in securing alternative accommodation.
Matrimonial and Probate Valuations
Matrimonial and Probate Valuations
Our Chartered Surveyors are qualified and experienced in preparing court compliant valuation of property for matrimonial and probate matters. Recognising the complexities and difficulties that can arise from these situations we undertake surveys with care and consideration and prepare valuations reports in court compliant format.
Claim / Defence
Dilapidations claims for the landlord, Defence for the tenant
Dilapidations is a specialised field, we work with landlords to prepare a fair a reasonable claim to recover the cost of putting a commercial property into the condition and repair it should be left in at the end of lease. We also work with tenant to minimise landlord’ claims which can be exaggerated and unreasonable. We work out a strategy that puts the client at the centre of the process.
The advice we provide is always relevant to the building and to the individual lease, to give our clients the best possible opportunity to gain value or minimise risk/cost. Claims on behalf of the landlord are correctly assessed and presented, in accordance with relevant protocols, guidance and legislation.
Defending claims on behalf of the tenant require due diligence of the lease terms, robust challenge of the landlord’s claim based on strong evidence and correct interpretation of the lease and the law.
From May 2019 we are fully qualified and licenced by the CAA to undertake Drove Surveys. We use a DJI Phantom 4 pro to undertake flight surveys of both residential and commercial property.
This service is economic and very useful for the survey of roofs, chimneys and gutters at high levels.
Surveys are subject to the restrictions of the CAA licence and not all properties can be safely and legally surveyed. But this service is a great way to obtain essential information of areas of a property that are usually out of sight without the need for expensive access equipment.
Energy Performance Certificates
We are qualified Commercial EPC Assessors and are accredited by Elmhurst Energy.
Legislation came into effect from 1st April 2018 for any commercial property that has an EPC of lower than an ‘E’ cannot be rented out to new tenants, or renew any existing tenancy contracts until at least an ‘E’ rating is obtained. From April 2023, MEES will apply to all existing commercial leases.
A fine for breach of MEES
If a landlord continues to let a property in breach of MEES for up to three months, they will face a fine of 10% of the property’s rateable value, up to a maximum of £50,000. Letting out a non-compliant property for longer than three months will result in a fine of 20% of the property’s rateable value (capped at £150,000).
There are some exemptions that which will enable a landlord to let, or continue to let, a substandard property, namely when:
- A property can be exempted if it is found that efficiency measures would decrease the property’s value by 5% or more
- ‘Seven-year payback test’: you will only be required to make energy efficiency improvements that have an expected payback of seven years or less. However, many measures are likely to meet the payback test. Lighting retrofit programmes, for example, or building control systems, can typically deliver savings well within the seven-year timeframe.
- A temporary exemption of six months can be granted to new landlords
Landlords who currently think their properties are compliant may find that upon renewal of the Energy Performance Certificate for their buildings that they are no longer compliant and therefore unable to rent out their properties.
Enforcement is undertaken by Local Authorities, usually Trading Standards but often solicitors will act as indirect enforcers as completing a lease with an uncompliant EPC is against the law. There is other indirect pressure on landlords to adheres to MEES from the commercial lending sector whereby MEES is a part of the lending criteria.
How can we help?
Not only are we qualified to prepare EPCs but we have a thorough understanding of how to achieve improved ratings and how a property market value can be disadvantaged or the mechanics of the lease can be problematic. There are also opportunities from MEES, particularly with pre aqcquisition advice.
We can help you to be MEES compliant by assessing current energy efficiency and energy performance risk across your portfolio and for individual assets.
Let us assess your property and prepare a fully costed investment grade proposals for achieving the minimum standards required on the most economic basis.
When necessary we will negotiate with landlords/tenants regarding the completion of energy efficiency projects and procure and manage any necessary improvement works.
Land Registry Compliant Plans
We are proficient in building and land measurement to support purchase/sale of property, rectification of boundaries/title plans by Land Registry and boundary disputes.
We use onsite measurement devices and both mapping systems and autocad software to prepare plans that are in compliance with Land Registry requirements.
Landlord & Tenant
Landlord and Tenant
Commercial leases cover a vast range of property types, and are drafted in many different forms. Our approach is simple: Whether you’re an owner or occupier, at each lease event we do everything possible to create and add value for you whether you are the landlord or tenant.
Within the complex area of Landlord & Tenant the Lease Advisory team adds value for landlord and occupier clients in lease restructuring, re-gears, asset management initiatives, rent reviews, lease renewals and Section 18 valuations, by identifying and negotiating optimum terms.
Our lease advisory team utilises their in depth knowledge and experience to either maximise value or minimise outgoings.
- We advise across all types and uses of property throughout Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire.
- We provide investors with advice on how best to structure a rental deal in an office or industrial building to maximise the investment value.
- We offer advice on turning leasing strategy into rent review success by maximising the effect of the evidence created.
- If you are an occupier you may be seeking to minimise your leasehold liabilities.
- We help occupiers align lease terms on individual properties with business objectives.
- We also work with occupiers over the long term providing relocation planning and strategic advice.
Development Consultancy and Appraisals
With the aid of bespoke development software we are able to advise developers, housebuilders and landowners on the viability of potential development projects. We can therefore quickly establish the development viability of a scheme and provide development advice accordingly. With our market knowledge we can clearly advise on the end value of a development scheme as well as demonstrate our understanding of the other key components of a development including build costs, professional fees, finance costs, marketing costs and planning gain and of course developer profit.
Our understanding of development appraisals has been supplemented over the years by us being directly involved in a number of large scale development deals which have resulted in land being sold to the likes of Bovis Homes, Taylor Wimpey and David Wilson Homes. Having this in depth understanding of the development process and the negotiations involved has helped significantly in making our development appraisal work more robust.
We also represent landowners throughout the development process. Dealing with housebuilders and land promoters can be a daunting prospect so it is important that any landowner has experienced professional advice throughout any negotiations. This is an area we have many years of experience in and so we would be delighted to discuss the development potential of any clients land holdings in more detail to maximise the development value of your land assets.
Lowe and Elliott Surveyors provide advice on all aspects of Investment strategy and management, providing recommendations using our local knowledge and expertise developed from market experience. We offer impartial advice on the sale, acquisition and management on all types of commercial property providing a tailor made and personal service to the individual client.
We believe the commercial property market can offer some excellent long term investment opportunities but it is imperative that an investor takes professional advice to ensure their risk is mitigated.
As part of our advice we will inspect the property and thereafter assess its investment suitability including calculating its likely investment returns. We will also provide advice and recommendations having regard to the circumstances. This advice will include commenting on general letting demand, rent review potential, likely rental income, repairing covenants, non-recoverable expenses and future development potential.
Whether you are buying, selling, new to investing or already own property or land and require a fresh assessment, marketing or general advice, we can draw on a thorough understanding of the local investment and occupational markets to provide you with impartial advice on how to best meet your objectives.
We will initially discuss your particular circumstances to better understand your requirements and formulate a programme on how to actively manage your property assets and maximise your return and once we have identified suitable investments and negotiated their acquisition we can then offer you an excellent commercial management service to ensure your investment performs and is well protected.
Residential Homebuyer Reports
The Homebuyer Survey was designed by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and is a shorter version of the Building Survey, but more detailed than a mortgage valuation which are completed usually for a mortgage lender rather than the purchaser. A mortgage valuation simply checks the building is worth the amount you are asking to borrow for it.
Homebuyer Surveys are chartered surveyors and are only suitable for more modern homes that are in generally reasonable condition. We are happy to discuss if a property is suitable for this type of survey.
The Homebuyer Survey will detect if a serious problem is uncovered during the survey. As problems are rated in terms of seriousness on the report, this will provide you with a good idea of how much work needs to be done on the property and which issues are most urgent.
We also provide our opinion of the Market Value of the property to check if you are paying the right amount for the property.
For insurance purposes, the surveyor’s valuation will give an opinion of the market value of the property and reinstatement cost, which your insurance company may need to know.
We keep our fee structure simple with the following:
£475 plus VAT for all properties less than £575,000.
The Homebuyer Survey Includes:
- An inspection of the major indoor features like ceilings, roof, walls, floors, bathrooms and woodwork.
- An inspection of permanent outdoor buildings and the outside of the home including roofing, pipes and gutters, walls, windows and outside doors.
- The report rates the main areas in terms of condition; a rating of three means the area is in need of urgent repair and rating one means no action is needed.
- An inspection of the visible parts of the heating and drainage systems as well as the electric, gas/oil and water services.
- The report will identify areas that you will need to consult a legal advisor to investigate further.
- A valuation of the property to confirm the market value of the property base on market evidence.
You can find more information on Homebuyer Reports and other residential surveys at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website: RICS.Org.UK – Home surveys.
We specialise in valuing all types of commercial property including retail, office, industrial, leisure and development land. We provide valuation for lending purposes, for audited accounts, pension fund purposes, to advise on acquisitions and disposals as well as for tax purposes including Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and Inheritance Tax (Probate).
We also provide charities with valuations so as to ensure they meet their regulatory duties relating to property transactions in line with the Charities Act.
Our surveyors are accredited with the RICS Valuer Registration Scheme which enables us to provide formal valuation advice on commercial and residential property matters in accordance with the RICS Valuation Standards.
We understand the importance of reporting within agreed timescales and to an agreed budget because Valuation is one of the principal elements of our business.
Schedules of Condition
Schedules of Condition
A Schedule of Condition is critical for a tenant taking a lease of a commercial property. We have seen far too many businesses feel the sting of a large dilapidations claim at the end of their lease. A thorough and well presented Schedule of Condition which is referred to in a lease with the correct wording will protect a business tenant against unsubstantiated Dilapidations as well as inform the tenant of the condition of the property which they are about to commit to.
A standard FRI lease often imposes on the tenant full responsibility for the upkeep, repair and renewal of the premises and ensuring that it is decorated during and at the end of the term and complies with all appropriate legislation.
In an FRI lease, the tenant carries the obligation to repair the premises even if the defect or damage requiring repair was present before the tenant took the lease. It’s also important to highlight that “repair” can include renewal and rebuilding, therefore it’s easy to understand why tenants would be keen to limit the scope of this expensive obligation.
A decent Schedule of Condition will ordinarily be prepared by a chartered surveyor and will include photographs and written descriptions, together documenting the condition of the property. The tenant will wish to ensure that the Schedule clearly shows the defects, by referring to the precise location and extent of the defects – the photographs and text must be specific enough to allow the defects to be identified in the future.
A tenant would be well advised to invest in a Schedule of Condition properly prepared by a chartered surveyor, as a poor record of the condition of the property will do no favours to a tenant when a landlord enforces the tenant’s repair obligation under the lease and serves a dilapidations claim.
Section 18 Valuations
We also provide Section 18 Valuations to establish the diminution of Value under Section 18 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927. Section 18 valuations confirm a cap, on the amount of quantified dilapidations that a landlord can claim against a tenant. This is also known as limiting a landlord’s claim by establishing the landlord’s loss.
Every landlord or tenant will have to serve or defend a dilapidations claim at some point during, and invariably at the end of, a lease. A landlord may require such in order to comply with the “Pre-Action Protocol”, this to be served upon the tenant with the costed repairs schedule.
A tenant may require one to establish whether or not this statutory cap, or ceiling, might serve to reduce their dilapidations payment to the landlord. Often this reduction is significant and a well constructed Valuation can be an effective instrument to support or reduce a claim.
Our Clients / Partners
Ian is an experienced Chartered Surveyor with many years experience in both public and private sector. Ian has worked for local practices and larger corporate practices. Particular areas of specialism are commercial EPC improvements, Dilapidations, Viability Appraisals and Residential and Commercial Valuation.
Rob has over 30 years experience in the property industry. He started his career with the Property Team at Stoke on Trent City Council before moving onto work for Bruton Knowles at their Birmingham office followed by Donaldsons (now DTZ). Rob joined Butters John Bee in 2007 and was made a Partner in 2009. Rob was then appointed Director in 2014 at Butters John Bee where he headed up the Commercial and Residential Survey Departments.
Matthew is an experienced Chartered Surveyor with a background in Property Management and Lease Consultancy. Matthew worked under Rob Elliott at Butters John Bee for a number of years, before spending a period of time working in the Lease Consultancy team at CBRE in Birmingham.
Zoe joined Lowe & Elliott Chartered Surveyors in 2020 and brought with hers over 25 years experience in the property industry, focusing primary on agency, management and financial accounts.
01782 622 621
Windsor House, 5a King Street, Newcastle under Lyme, ST5 1EH