Frequently Asked Questions

What is Michael Parkes Surveyors?

We are a multi-disciplinary firm of general practice surveyors, property managers, property agents, planners and registered valuers.

What services do you provide?

Property Management

Residential
Commercial

Professional Services

Valuations
Lease Renewals
Rent Reviews
LPA Receivership
Licences to underlet
Licences for assignment
Licences for works
Negotiating and managing dilapidations
Rates mitigation
Engaging third party consultants e.g. building surveyors/structural engineers 

Commercial Agency

Sales
Lettings
Assignment of Leases

Planning

Pre-application Advice
Submission of Planning Applications / Appeals
Advising on Planning Enforcement Matters
Discharge of Planning Conditions
Preparing Support Statements
Third Party Presentations

Block Management

Service Charges
Budgeting
Day to day management
Company Secretarial Services
Health and Safety

Where are you based?
We have an office in Rochester, Kent (on Medway City Estate) and an office in London 

What time are your opening times and closing times?
We are open 9-530 Monday to Friday 

What areas do you cover?
We cover the whole of Kent and South East London

Property Management Questions

What is commercial property management?
Commercial property management involves management of shops, offices, land and industrial units with the overall objective of assisting landlords and owners in the supervision of their property. Commercial Property Management can include giving advice about a lease, service charge collection, rent collection, preparing budgets of running costs, debt recovery, staffing, account management, repairs and maintenance, credit control, reconciliation’s, purchase ledger, procurement, compliance, health and safety, and asset management. 

What sort of properties do Michael Parkes Surveyors manage?
We manage flats, blocks of flats, shops, offices, industrial parks, industrial units and land. We work with landlords, investors, pension funds and property companies to manage their portfolio on a day-to-day basis – whether that portfolio consists of one property or one hundred. It gives an arm’s length relationship between landlord and tenant

Do you regularly inspect properties and sites?
Yes, our property managers inspect all properties on a regular basis. This helps build an ongoing relationship with the tenants and ensures the landlord is kept up to date with the state of their property which helps them to plan and make decisions. A well-kept property means the asset value may be enhanced and definitely protected.

Why use Michael Parkes Surveyors for property management services?
We have years of experience in property management. Our managers are trained and have degrees in Estate Management! We have a proven track record having been in business for over 30 years. We are friendly and approachable and we understand the need to deliver service. 

What is Freehold?
Freehold provides the buyer with outright ownership of the land and any buildings on it, meaning they also have the power to do as they like with their land and property – subject to land laws and planning permission. A property that is freehold has fewer constraints and is generally likely to be more valuable.

What is Leasehold?
A leasehold property is rented from the freeholder for fixed time period, providing the leaseholder with a temporary right to occupy the land or property. A common example of a leasehold property is a flat where the tenant effectively owns the property for a fixed term but not the land on which it stands. This term could be 99, 125 or 999 years for example. When the lease expires, ownership of the property reverts back to the freeholder. Most flats are owned leasehold. Commercial premises tend to be let on a leasehold basis for between 3 and 20 years depending on the use of that property.

What are the most important details to be aware of in a lease agreement for business premises?

Key terms in a lease include:

  • Duration of the lease and any break clauses or flexibility in terminating the lease before its contractual end date.
  • Costs including quarterly rent payments and any applicable service charges.
  • Responsibilities for maintenance and any restrictions on making alterations.
  • The type of business operations allowed within the premises.A lease agreement can be a considerably detailed document. You should have a solicitor to advise you on the legal nature of your obligations and a surveyor to advise you that what you are offering in terms of payment and length of lease for example reflects the market rate.

What is a rent review?
In 1954, the Landlord and Tenant Act was introduced, the essential feature of which was to grant business tenants the automatic right to renewal at the end of a lease. Thus, Landlords sought to protect their investment by ensuring that rent kept pace with inflation.

Attempts have been made by successive governments to introduce flexibility in the rent review procedure, with the emphasis on upwards or downwards reviews so far without success. Occasionally a rent

review clause contains a formula rent whereby the parties must agree the value of a hypothetical building and use that agreement to formulate the value of the subject building.

The principle behind the rent review is simple; the landlord wishes to ensure that he receives the maximum rent as at the effective date whereas the tenant wishes to ensure that he is not over-paying. In straightforward cases where there is ample comparable evidence the process should be simple. However often there is no directly comparable evidence and the debate revolves around the interpretation of what evidence is available and how the resultant figure should be adjusted to be applicable to the subject property.

Can I make alterations to a property I am leasing?
You absolutely must check your lease before undertaking any work. Each lease is different, some allow internal non-structural changes without consent and some require the consent of the landlord which mustn’t be unreasonably withheld. It is advisable that you seek advice from a surveyor to ensure that you do not breach the terms of your lease.

At the end of your lease term, the landlord may ask you to reinstate the property to its initial state – either fully or partly. However, in many cases a landlord is happy for the property to be marketed again as is. It is important that you plan for any works like this from a cost perspective and from a time point of view. Seek advice though!

Can I get out of a lease if I no longer want the business premises?
Firstly, you need to check the lease contract to ascertain what break clauses, if any, you might have. For example, you may have the right to end the lease after a certain amount of time with enough notice or to assign the lease to another business or sublet the premises. The lease is your contract and it will tell you what you can and cant do. There is a lot of case law about break notices so BEWARE. You should get a solicitor to serve notice ideally to ensure it is done properly or it could end up costing you.

If these options are not applicable, you could try to negotiate a lease termination with the landlord but they are not obligated to negotiate if you are under contract. If the landlord did agree to an early termination, it’s likely they would do so on the basis that you pay a compensation fee. In some market conditions, there is a possibility you are paying a low rate of rent and the landlord could be happy to release you and enable himself to rent at a better rate so it is always worth asking.

NB, if you sublet the premises, you continue to be the tenant under the original lease, and your existing responsibilities continue to be the same. In turn, your subtenant has a sublease requiring them to pay you rent, look after the premises and so on. You may need some help with this and a surveyor could assist you by finding a sub tenant and also by managing the rent collection and protecting you by looking out for your responsibilities, allowing you to get on with your day to day work.

If you assign the lease, the new tenant takes over the tenancy responsibilities. But you may continue to be liable if the new tenant fails to pay the rent as you will probably have to enter into an AGA which is an authorised guarantee agreement. So its important you think the tenant that will take on the lease is going to be reliable and their accounts back this up.

I’m looking to sell or lease a property, can you help?
We would be delighted to discuss your requirements to either sell or lease your property. You can call us on 01634 294 994 or email info@michaelparkes.co.uk and one of our experienced agents will be happy to discuss in more detail.

What are service charges?
We produce, monitor and review the annual service charge budgets for our clients to enable recommendations to be made to the client as to the levels at which the services charges are set. The overall budget has to take into account a number of things including managing agents fees, accountants fees, company secretarial fees, insurance, cleaning, gardening, repairs etc. The items included in the budget will depend on what the lease defines as a service which can be charge out as a service charge. 

Valuations

What type of valuation do I need?
Michael Parkes Surveyors provide different types of valuation dependant on your personal or business needs. For example, we can provide valuations for tax, secured lending, insurance, accounts and pension fund purposes amongst others.

We are governed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and it is important that we discuss with you what needs to be valued and for what purpose.

What is RICS and is it important?~
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is the world’s leading professional organisation for the property and construction sectors. RICS regulation imposes strict professional, business and ethical standards on all of its members providing the basis for unparalleled client confidence in the sector. When you use a surveyor, it is reassuring to know he or she is regulated by a world renowned and respected professional body.

I need a Red Book Valuation, can you help?
Yes, we are able to provide valuations that comply with the current RICS Valuation guidelines. We are proud to have a team of fully qualified registered valuers who regularly undertake this type of work.

How much do valuations cost?
This depends on what is required and we can tailor our service to meet a client’s specific needs. Our fees take into account the size and complexity of the property in question and we welcome the opportunity to discuss this and your requirements prior to agreeing an appropriate and competitive fee.

Would it be possible to discuss the survey one to one with the surveyor so I can get a better understanding of the report?
Our surveyors are very happy to discuss the results of their inspection with our clients, within the context of the survey type you have requested. We recommend that you take time to read the surveyors report carefully, make a written note about anything you wish to discuss about the report and then telephone us.  If your surveyor is out on survey (which surveyors often are) leave a message with one of our friendly team when you are available. It is important that we can only discuss the survey with our client, so if our client is the bank, then we may not be able to discuss with you.

Can you email me the report?
If you are the instructing client and you want to receive the report by email then of course we can. It is important that we only disclose to our client though. If you are not the person of body that instructed us then you may not be our client, even if you are ultimately paying for the report. For example often a client is a bank and not the individual purchasing the property.