Sep 1, 2015
Rent reviews as based on comparable evidence of other transactions within the vicinity of the subject premises. These transactions include, open market lettings, lease renewals and rent reviews.
There are many surveyors who represent both landlord’s and tenants. Recent statistics have revealed that nearly 20% (1,230,315 sq ft) of office lettings in Central London, were handled by agents who represented both the landlord and the prospective tenant within the same transaction alone. This is rare in a rent review, however, if your surveyor does any lettings or management for a landlord within the vicinity of your property then they have a conflict of interest because their primary focus is going to be their landlord client who owns the building or many buildings. When representing those clients therefore their objective is to achieve the highest rent possible. This means that before a surveyor represents you they have been working on creating market evidence which pushes rents up. Is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors therefore doing enough to control the commercial property industry’s potential ‘conflicts of interest?’
This is a question which Professor Gerard McCormack and Mr Adam Baker, of Leeds University, have taken the initiative to look at in detail and have begun a new research project to study the levels of conflicts of interest in the commercial property sector. The aim of which, will be to develop a white paper which will evaluate whether commercial landlords and occupiers are being treated equally when seeking expert advice.
It will be the first time that the commercial property industry will have honed in to a problem which very few have taken much notice of and it is to the delight of Stuart Neils Surveyors who have acted specifically ‘For the Tenant’ since 1973. Managing Director, Neil Mason says “All our clients are absolutely delighted that we only act for tenants as they discovered when contacting commercial surveyors and agents previously that their main clients were landlords and therefore must surely have a conflict of interest.”