Deeper Into the Rent Review Process…with a few chartered surveyors as guides…

The chartered surveyor we wanted to hire to represent us is from a town, Camborne, about 15 miles from Penzance. He is very familiar with Penzance and a very fair-minded man from our assessment. Early on he realized, and we realized, he had a conflict of interest.  He was representing a landlord two shops up from us…meaning:  he was trying to negotiate as high a rent increase as possible for the landlord therefore it would be hard for him to, at the same time, negotiate a low a rent increase as possible.

From what I was learning the problem was in the system, the lease code itself, NOT in the chartered surveyors themselves, although the professional trade organization that is the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), perpetrates the systemic unfairness in the lease code and has made no attempt to make the lease code fair regarding including a “downward” rent option in a rent review.

An UORR (Upward Only Rent Review) is the current standard in the UK.   What this means is that rents can NEVER go down. At the point of a review they can either stay the same or go up.   In this way the property value is enhanced for the landlord at all times and in all markets.

The more I spoke with other tenants in Penzance the more concerned I got and the more futile I felt.  No matter what I found out these surveyors would work it out amongst themselves and a big rent increase was likely…the most I could do was gather facts and get a bit hysterical about it all. 

In May 2008 the BBC did a series on landlording in feudal Britain and Michael and me watched the series. Simon Wood was the historian hosting the program. As he spoke about the landlord/tenant relationship in the 1300’s, before and after the Black Plague, I started to feel very uncomfortable.  Little has changed in 700 years!

Concurrent with running the Deli,  I was applying to Falmouth University’s Professional Writing MA Program. As part of the application process we had to submit a portfolio of past writings and also a paper on an “injustice”…I had no problem in knowing what I would write about.

The title of my paper was “Feudal Britain is Alive and Well on the High Street”.

The paper is coming next…

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Published in: on April 20, 2009 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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