An all-round win

An excellent settlement has been reached for the participating leaseholders in a collective enfranchisement claim on the Day Estate where there were six flats – three on short (15.3 year) leases and three on long (120.3 year) leases. Three leaseholders participated; three did not. The settlement secured wins for my clients and me in every area of the valuation.

The key factors on which I based my initial advice on where my clients should pitch their offer on the Initial Notice were:

The Deferment rate –  settled at 0.25% above the generic base of 5% on the short lease flats. This recognised that we are now just over the turning point in the market cycle, and consequently an investor would pay less to protect against the risk that the investment to the three short lease flat reversions will be worth less when they mature in 15.3 years’ time.

Relativity – which was settled at 4.39% points above the ‘landlords graph’ (39.87% compared with 35.48%) for the short leases given that the maximum addition so far handed out by the tribunals would be about 5.02% points above the graph  given  the much awaited appeal in the Upper Tribunal where the landlord’s camp are convinced they have persuaded the tribunal that the landlords’ graph is, if anything, too high (the decision is not yet out).

This was in itself something of a triumph, in the face of the general landlord view that they have ‘won’ the hedonic regression appeals and where the same firm of landlord’s solicitors act for the Day Estate as acted for two of the three defendant landlords in those appeals.

Individual freehold values per flat – which were settled at 10% overall lower than my anticipated target.

After my initial advice to my clients on my considered best and worst-case premium range, I then thought of a new angle, ran with it, and got away with it – securing a discount of 5% to the three short lease reversions against the risk of the lessees holding over as assured tenants under Schedule 10 of the Local Government & Housing Act 1989.

My clients ended up with a settlement premium not only £856,100 (35.4%) lower than worst anticipated settlement target but £4,400 lower than my initial estimate.

When is a house not a house?

Knowing the answer saved my client a small fortune

It has taken a year to settle, but I have saved a client an incredible 99.2 per cent on the proposed £2.5 million premium he faced for removal of a restrictive covenant. The successful settlement, resting on the legal definition of “house”, allows him to convert a former hotel into a grand Kensington home.


Taking everything into account …

Sloping ceilings may add character to a top-floor flat, but if you’re acquiring a lease extension or seeking collective enfranchisement, make sure the valuation takes into account the reduction in useable floorspace …

To achieve the best possible deal for my leaseholder clients, I’m determined to explore and bring to bear every relevant detail that might result in a lower settlement. (more…)

Cheer for leaseholders in the Stamp Duty gloom?

The Chancellor’s shake-up of Stamp Duty last year continues to depress the prime central London market, latest figures show. With the freehold values of high-end flats and houses at their lowest levels for two years, and continuing to fall, it looks like an opportune window for leaseholders to extend short leases or go for collective freehold purchase.

The latest capital value index from Savills shows prime central house values have fallen by 4.3 per cent, and flat values by 4.75 per cent, since the huge Stamp Duty hike for properties over £937,000. This was in spite of a small seasonal fillip in the spring – values fell again through the summer, though more slowly than last autumn and winter. In contrast, prime outer London values have already begun to ease upward a little. (more…)

Savings success on Crown Estate flats

Over the years I have saved my clients an average of around 25 per cent on their landlords’ starting offers for lease extensions and freehold acquisitions. However, because so many factors may or may not affect a particular case, the savings achieved can vary widely. This is illustrated by a recent success for a client extending leases on two flats in adjacent buildings on the Crown Estate (in a prime location even in Knightsbridge terms!) (more…)

Shingles settles: £200,000 below client’s initial offer!

This year, in what must be a first for the central London leasehold market, I secured a settlement on a client’s leasehold extension that was not only £1.8 million below the landlord’s starting price (a saving of almost 36 per cent), but almost £200,000 below my client’s initial offer.

For all my clients, I leave no stone unturned to reach the best possible settlement, but this case was extraordinary even for me. The rare – possibly unique – result was achieved because I pursued, doggedly and rapidly, evidence that other valuers would not have been able to produce. (more…)