News

News

19th August 2016

The key issue now is to deliver a rental market that works for everyone, says Julian Goddard

Sadiq Khan has now served more than 100 days as mayor of London, so Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney LLP, spoke to Estates Gazette on how his time has gone.

Julian said the "key issue now is to deliver a rental market that works for everyone."

“That doesn’t mean hammering the buy-to-let sector with extra regulations and charges" Julian went on to say, "but recognising the vital role private landlords play in providing rented accommodation and also supporting the growth of build to rent.”

To read the full article in Estates Gazette, please follow the link: bit.ly/2b2JPjJ


2nd August 2016

Daniel Watney announces Matthew Roper as new associate partner

Daniel Watney LLP has appointed Matthew Roper as associate partner on its lease advisory and valuation team.

In his new role Matthew will primarily oversee the company’s work for office premises in central London.

Matthew's appointment was covered in Property Week.

To read the full article in Property Week, please follow the link: bit.ly/2aONyiv


22nd July 2016

It's vital the government recognises the difference in resources between councils, says Charles Mills

A recently released House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report argued that the government should allow councils to take advantage of relaxed lending rules to boost their housebuilding efforts.

Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney, has responded to the report saying: “One of the prevailing issues is that we keep asking local authorities to do more without providing the resources they need to do it."

Some councils are well-resourced, others are less well-off - Charles went on to say - and "it is vital central government recognises this and addresses the issues."

Charles's comments were featured in Estates Gazette.

To read the full article in Estates Gazette, please follow the link: bit.ly/29PVGkJ


18th July 2016

Richard Garner says negative Brexit predictions risk "talking ourselves into a downturn"

Recent reports have detailed how much office space in London is at risk of becoming vacant should companies' "passporting" rights become restricted following Brexit.

Richard Garner, head of commercial at Daniel Watney LLP, has said that while some investment decisions are being delayed, many businesses are still growing and "it's important we don’t talk ourselves into a downturn by focusing only on the negatives."

Richard's comments were featured in City A.M.

To read the full article in City A.M., please follow the link: bit.ly/29OvQL5


27th May 2016

Treasury's Brexit predictions are "overly bleak", says Julian Goddard

This week the Treasury released a report suggesting that house prices could fall by 18 per cent, should the UK vote to leave the EU on the 23rd June.

Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney, has said while these predictions are "overly bleak", a drop in market confidence among mortgage lenders would be a concern.

A fall in house prices is only part of the picture, Julian thinks: a wider recession “would inevitably have an adverse impact on demand, both in terms of confidence and affordability."

Julian's comments were featured in Property Week.

To read the full article in Property Week, please follow the link: bit.ly/20JQyOB


20th May 2016

Mayor should consider development on London's safeguarded wharves, says Charles Mills

Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney, spoke to Estates Gazette on the potential for development on London's safeguarded wharves.

“Given the severity of London’s housing shortage, opening the city’s safeguarded wharves for development should at the very least be considered by the new mayor” - Charles told the magazine.

Last year, Daniel Watney released research which found that 25,000 new homes could be built on the River Thames's 30 safeguarded wharves. While development is currently prohibited by the mayor, the system is up for review in 2018.

To read the full article in Estates Gazette, please follow the link: bit.ly/25dBboc


18th May 2016

Land Registry sell off puts its impartiality under threat, says Richard Close

Property consultancy, Daniel Watney LLP has responded to the government's plans to privatise the Land Registry as part of the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, revealed in the Queen's Speech today.

Richard Close, head of lease advisory at Daniel Watney, said selling off the Land Registry risks putting its impartiality under threat.

"It will only be through public ownership that the Land Registry can continue to take a strategic view on things which might not at first seem commercially appealing, like integrating blockchain technology and distributed ledgers to boost trust. Private owners are less likely to adopt a ‘one step back, two steps forward’ policy when shareholders have to be appeased” - Richard added.

Richard's comments were featured in Estates Gazette, Property Week, The Planner and CoStar.

To read the full article in Estates Gazette, please follow the link: bit.ly/1WDZnLW

To read the full article in Property Week, please follow the link: bit.ly/1sRLPQ7

To read the full article in The Planner, please follow the link: bit.ly/1qu2Nm9

To read the full article in CoStar, please follow the link: bit.ly/25c3yU2


16th May 2016

BHS landlords could miss out on empty rates relief, says Debbie Warwick

Research from property consultancy, Daniel Watney LLP shows BHS landlords could miss out on empty rates relief due to the time it will take for the business to go through administration.

Debbie Warwick, head of business rates at Daniel Watney, said: “Our research shows the scale of what property owners are up against with empty business rates charges when an occupier fails. Many will have their premises handed back without normal works of repair having been undertaken by the ex-tenant and find that, despite not producing any income from the property, they are liable for the full rate.”

Debbie's comments were featured in the Daily Telegraph, Property Week and CoStar.

To read the full article in the Daily Telegraph, please follow the link: bit.ly/22dKVtF

To read the full article in Property Week, please follow the link: bit.ly/1PquqIp

To read the full article in CoStar, please follow the link: bit.ly/1VaPcgd


11th May 2016

Rent controls are only a 'sticking plaster' says Julian Goddard

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has responded to newly-elected mayor of London, Sadiq Khan's proposals for rent controls.

Khan has called for a variety of different measures including capping rents in line with inflation and implementing a 'London Living Rent'. Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney, has said these would only constitute a 'sticking plaster' and Khan should "look at the supply side and take measures to ease the viability of new schemes" instead.

Julian's comments were featured in the Financial Times.

To read the full article in the Financial Times, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1On3SSy


11th May 2016

Crane survey "only tells half the story" says Richard Garner

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has responded to Deloitte's recently released London Office Crane Survey.

Richard Garner, head of commercial at Daniel Watney, said the figures "Only tell half the story. There’s still a very real supply crunch across the capital with firms unable to access space they can afford.”

The new mayor should also create a London-wide strategy for developing the right mix of working space, says Richard.

Richard's comments were featured in Construction News; he also spoke to Estates Gazette on the capital's office boom.

To read the full article in Construction News, please follow the link: bit.ly/1rZXifQ

To listen to the podcast in Estates Gazette, please follow the link: bit.ly/1rZXs6Y


9th May 2016

Julian Goddard comments on the London mayoral result

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has commented on the result of the London mayoral election and what it means for the capital's property market.

After Sadiq Khan won last week, Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney said: "Mr Khan’s rent control plans are particularly worrying, as they are likely to force landlords out of the market, reduce housing supply, and deter would-be investors.”

Julian's comments were featured in Estates Gazette.

To read the full article in Estates Gazette, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/23BG3O2


6th May 2016

Daniel Watney LLP advises MDDUS at 50 Cannon Street

Daniel Watney has advised the Medical Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) as it exchanged contracts on 50 Cannon Street.

Richard Garner, head of commercial at Daniel Watney, said: “With current economic uncertainties elsewhere in the world, appetite for the kind of long-term income streams offered by these kinds of assets remains key to many long-term investors."

The news was featured in Property Week, Estates Gazette and CoStar.

To read the full article in Property Week, please follow the link: bit.ly/1q92UDl

To read the full article in Estates Gazette, please follow the link: bit.ly/277xYoE


4th May 2016

Daniel Watney research shows the effects of a rent freeze in London

New research from property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP shows that if Sadiq Khan implements his proposed rent freeze in London, it would cost the average landlord in the city £5,500 over the next five years.

At a borough level, the losses would range from £3,400 for landlords in Bexley to nearly £11,000 for Kensington landlords.

Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney said, "Time and time again it has been proven rent controls do not work, forcing landlords out of the market and deterring would-be investors.”

The research was featured in Property Week and in the Daily Telegraph's live coverage of the election.

To read the full article in Property Week, please follow the link: bit.ly/1rmr9yT


22nd April 2016

Julian Goddard on build to rent and property management

It’s not without irony that, 20 years after buy-to-let landlords started making their rented fortunes, UK-based fund managers are finally coming into housing, just as private investors run a mile.

The likes of M&G Real Estate - which originally owned swathes of homes back in 1915 - were the first to come back to the table, in 2013. Other big guns such as Hermes and LaSalle have crept back too, while AXA and Standard Life are presumably thinking about it.

The government’s crackdown on buy-to-let - extra stamp duty and reduced mortgage tax credit - initially seemed to be aimed at corporate investors. But this year’s Budget saw an unexpected U-turn from the chancellor, when he revealed the 3% stamp duty surcharge will also apply to large-scale investors - despite warnings on how it would affect the fledgling build-to-rent sector.

However, the major fund managers don’t seem to be actually building for rent: indeed, many seem to have struggled to deploy capital. Some of the recently announced purchases appear to be residential developments many others have passed over, and cynics might suggest they’ve been bought just to use up the cash.

M&G’s scheme in Acton is one of very few acquired by the big guys actually designed for rent. Does this matter? Possibly not, although there will obviously be benefits, both in terms of gross-to-net yield differentials and tenant retention, if consideration is given to how the building is used.

Companies such as Essential Living have made lots of noise about adding amenity spaces, roof terraces and family play areas to replicate US multi-family living. They no doubt see a premium in the creation of their brand.

Meanwhile, much of the stock bought up recently by M&G and LaSalle is just regular flats for sale. Legal & General, however, seems to be putting its money where its mouth is and actually developing itself - rather than snapping up unsold ‘for sale’ stock.

Does this make any difference though?

The real question over whether these fund managers will fulfil the bluster and promise of build-to-rent won’t lie in whether the roof terrace grows mint or lentils; it will be down to whether someone has thought about how many lifts there need to be and what margin they are paying for management.

The typical approach of the big guns is to hire major agents to manage stock, which gets subcontracted down the chain. But the high staff turnover suffered by many larger agents undermines the strong relationships needed for effective management, and causes breakdowns in communication. So having an enduring relationship with a well-established team will do more to bring down your gross-to-net margins than using a big-name agent that may well pass on the work in any event.

Funds must understand that their assets are more than simply numbers on a spreadsheet. They are buildings people live in, where effective management requires detailed knowledge, long-term planning and appropriate service and care levels. A human-centric approach to management is needed, whereby tenants call their property managers, rather than a switchboard.

Build-to-rent investors talk about the need for a service-driven approach to housing - the same is true for property management.

(Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney, was writing in Property Week).


18th April 2016

Julian Goddard explains the effects of Right to Rent on the rental market

Housing topped the political agenda in 2015 in a way it has not done for decades. The run-up to the general election saw politicians falling over each other to promise an ever- greater number of homes, while Chancellor George Osborne used the 2015 Autumn Statement to promise yet more state help for first-time buyers.

Tackling immigration also became a major priority. The Conservatives have promised to limit net migration to the “tens of thousands” in the face of an increasingly sceptical electorate. Whereas politicians focus on the cultural and economic benefits of immigration, voters fret about integration and pressure on public services. The refugee crisis caused by conflicts in the Middle East and the resulting tensions in host countries such as Germany and Sweden have added a new dimension to the debate.

In both policy areas, it is obvious that the Conservatives have failed to fulfil their stated aims. Housebuilding is still far below the levels needed, and despite recent planning reforms, the government is unlikely to meet its ambition of having one million new homes built by 2020. Meanwhile, net migration continues to run into the hundreds of thousands, because the UK’s booming jobs market and extensive welfare state attracts people from across the globe.

In the public’s imagination, the UK’s housing woes and immigration are inextricably linked issues. The popular narrative goes: new arrivals push up demand, leading to higher prices and rents in the open market and longer waiting lists for social housing. Of course, the root cause for these problems is actually our decades-long failure to build new homes of all tenures in sufficient numbers. People living alone and for longer are the other major drivers of increased household formation, but rarely acknowledged in policy-making.

Desperate to be seen to be doing something, the coalition government introduced right-to-rent checks as part of the Immigration Act 2014. Under this new system, landlords are obliged to check whether a prospective tenant has the right to live in the UK, although this responsibility can be passed on to their agent if agreed in writing, opening up the possibility of increased fees for landlords. This will involve verifying and taking copies of identity documents for all new tenants. Landlords face a £3,000 fine per illegal occupant, and the government has made clear that ignorance of the new rules will not be a defence.

But the right to rent will do little to tackle illegal immigration or the shortage of rental properties in the UK: it will just make landlords’ and tenants’ lives more difficult.

The scheme was piloted in the West Midlands: Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. The first six months of the trials, from 1 December 2014 to 31 May 2015, found 109 people who were in the country illegally – 63 of whom were previously unknown to the Home Office. But only 13 referral notices and five penalty notices were issued to landlords for failing to implement the checks properly, suggesting that in the other cases, the landlords had acted accordingly and yet some people had still slipped through the net.
Unsurprisingly, the sector’s reaction to the checks has been overwhelmingly negative. This is for good reason: landlords and agents are not trained immigration enforcement officers and are unlikely to know the difference between legitimate and fraudulent identity documents, yet they will still be penalised for any failings.

It appears that the right to rent will also be implemented unevenly. Whereas professional landlords will be actively targeted, there seems to be no real impetus to ensure those offering short-term lets, such as Airbnb hosts, are checking the immigration status of their tenants, creating an obvious gap that could be exploited.

More importantly, the knock-on effects from the checks will be far from positive for tenants. Data from the Home Office pilot revealed additional fees of up to £120 per person per tenancy. Research by the Joint Council for the Welfare for Immigrants (JCWI) found similar increases.

No doubt some will view this as a cynical attempt by landlords and agents to profit from a flawed government initiative. But as with all letting fees, they reflect a genuine cost, in terms of the time spent processing necessary paperwork. For hard-pressed tenants, this will make renting all the more difficult financially and delay the moving-in process, especially for those without a valid passport or driving licence.

More disturbing are reports that right-to-rent checks have led to landlords discriminating against those who appear ‘foreign’. Another survey by the JCWI revealed that 42% of landlords are unlikely to rent to those without British passports, and over 25% would be less likely to rent to someone with a foreign-sounding name or accent.

Yet despite this strong evidence to the contrary, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire claimed the checks were not discriminatory and since February 2016 they have been rolled out nationwide. As a result, those from minority backgrounds are likely to struggle in accessing rented accommodation, although we will not know the true impact for quite some time.

In diverse cities like Birmingham and London, where landlords and agents are more used to dealing with tenants of different nationalities, the damage may not be as extensive as feared. But in relatively homogenous areas, such as rural towns and villages, those from non-British backgrounds may fare badly.

At a time of great tension in the rental market, with a deep feeling of mistrust between landlords and tenants, this ill-conceived intervention by the government will only make matters worse.

Rather than passing responsibility for tackling illegal immigration on to landlords and their agents, the government should instead be encouraging its various departments and agencies to take a collaborative approach and share information more effectively. The public sector holds vast amounts of data – it just needs to learn how deploy it appropriately and efficiently.

Landlords and agents do not have the knowledge or resources required to effectively police who is living here – that should be the job of the UK Border Force. As the incidents in Calais have shown, they would have quite a tough task ahead of them. If the government is genuinely interested in limiting illegal immigration, maybe it should consider increased funding. Shifting the burden to untrained individuals because of budget cuts to key services is not a sustainable solution over the long term.

And right-to-rent checks will not tackle the root cause of the public’s worries: a severe lack of housing of all types and tenure. The UK has not built much dedicated private rented stock since the mid-20th century, when rent controls killed off the institutional investment that had bankrolled most development.

Institutional investors have started to make a return to the UK rental market and the emerging build-to-rent sector has the potential to deliver thousands of purpose-built private rented homes without costing the taxpayer a penny. Once established, build to rent will also offer tenants greater choice. But with this sector in its infancy, and the vast majority of tenants reliant on buy-to-let properties for accommodation, burdening private landlords with excessive regulations such as right-to-rent checks runs the risk of reducing supply at a crucial time for the market.

Sadly, given this government’s preoccupation with homeownership, it seems landlords and tenants alike will continue to get a raw deal and the fundamental issues around housing and immigration will remain unresolved.

(Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney, was writing in the RICS Property Journal).


18th March 2016

Charles Mills explains the imbalance in commuted payment spending

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has explained why commuted payment spending varies so much across the country.

Charles, head of planning at Daniel Watney, said that councils outside of London find it much easier to spend the money as their estate is less developed and the availability of land is greater.

Charles's comments were featured in Estates Gazette.

To read the full article in Estates Gazette, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1py4C1Q


16th March 2016

Julian Goddard responds to Budget 2016

Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney LLP, has given his reaction to the 2016 Budget.

Julian said that a continuing squeeze on private landlords will only exacerbate problems in the private rented sector. The growing burden on landlords will cause many of them to leave the market, causing a crunch in supply and a rise in rents, he went on to say.

Julian's comments were featured in Property Wire, the Local Government Procurement Network, and The Move Channel.

To read the full article in Property Wire, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1ZkLiRG

To read the full article in the Local Government Procurement Network, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1pFzLjS

To read the full article in The Move Channel, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1Rvgk9o


8th February 2016

Debbie Warwick warns of 'shambolic' business rates appeals process

Daniel Watney LLP has warned that the proposed changes to the business rates appeals process place too much burden on the ratepayer, without letting them see how their valuation was calculated.

Debbie Warwick, head of business rates at Daniel Watney, has said that "these proposals will turn the current system into a long-winded shambolic process where the onus is on the ratepayer and all the odds are stacked against them."

Debbie's comments were featured in the Mail on Sunday.

To read the full article in the Mail on Sunday, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1KAyPGl


29th January 2016

Charles Mills says self-build should not be a priority for the government

Everyone knows the Tories aren’t shy of donning a high-vis jacket if they smell a TV news crew at five paces. But while starter homes have enjoyed much fanfare of late, the Conservative obsession with self-build has also re-appeared as the Housing and Planning Bill goes through parliament.

Sadly, our decades-long failure to build enough homes needs solutions of scale, not DIY flights of fancy.

The bill will amend the Self-build and Custom House Building Act – passed last year – requiring councils to grant “sufficient suitable development permission of serviced plots of land” for those looking to build their own home. Essentially, people get allocated land with the planning waved through. This marks a considerable step up from when councils were only required to keep a register of those “interested” in self-build, which could be up to 26 million people according to an Ipsos-MORI poll from last year.

Former housing minister and party chairman Grant Shapps first championed the sector in opposition, promising a “self- build revolution”. This support continued into government: in 2014 the planning minister Nick Boles announced a “right to build” and warned councils would be sued if they failed to apportion land.

Historically, 10-15% of new housing supply comes from self- or custom-build, with the UK lagging behind our European neighbours. Awkwardly, the number of self-build applications has fallen under the Conservatives: only 18,000 self-build planning applications were submitted in 2015, 30% below the 2010 peak figure.

A lack of available finance has been a major obstacle: building your own home is expensive, and most people have to take a loan, which is harder since the recession.

But the government’s answer – a £150m Custom Build Serviced Plots Loan Fund, available for self-build collectives delivering five to 200 units – is unlikely to be big enough to yield any serious results.

Planning regulations are another barrier, but with self-builders exempt from the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 affordable housing contributions as of last year, a key roadblock has been removed.

Yet this opens up problems for everybody else. The Autumn Statement may have led you to think otherwise, but
Britain’s housing crisis isn’t just one of homeownership. More homes of all tenures are needed and, with housing associations taking a hammering, the lack of affordable homes will only get worse. More funding, not less, is needed.

The traditional approach of volume housebuilders has its flaws. Many have developed vast new neighbourhoods that lack any sense of character or distinction.

Rather than parcelling public land off to individuals and small groups, dividing sites between professional developers will stop over-bidding, help achieve best value and deliver variety. Self- and custom- builders can be part of the mix, but not
the whole cake.

Another alternative is to partner with build-to-rent developers, striking agreements that will generate long-term steady incomes for both parties as well as providing much-needed rental accommodation. Transport for London, which is planning to release 300 acres to create 10,000 new homes mostly for rent, offers a good model to follow.

It could be that current Tory darling Angela Merkel may be as much of an inspiration here as middle-class hero Kevin McCloud. Germany’s constitution contains an explicit “right to build” clause.

But we must be realistic about what will make a meaningful impact. Delivering homes across a range of tenures and price points needs to be the priority – not DIY housebuilding.

(Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney, was writing in Estates Gazette).


26th January 2016

Julian Goddard warns the government on rogue landlords plan

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has warned that the government's plans to tackle rogue landlords are misguided.

Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney, has said that instead the government should instead focusing on better informing tenants of their rights, promoting accreditation of agents and encouraging more institutional investment in the private rented sector.

Julian's comments were featured in Builder & Engineer.

To read the full article in Builder & Engineer, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1WMJ9wJ


12th January 2016

Charles Mills welcomes the government's estate regeneration plans

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has welcomed the government's recently announced estate regeneration plans.

Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney has said that the 'Complete Streets' initiative is a welcome alternative to normal proposals. Charles went on to say that, provided the new homes were "genuinely affordable for residents", the policy could "mark a game-changer for social housing in Britain."

Charles's comments were featured in The Planner.

To read the full article in The Planner, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1TSbYGf


7th January 2016

Charles Mills says there is a 'compelling case' for councils to start building again

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has said the argument for local authorities to start housebuilding again is a 'compelling' one.

Though Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney, also warned that a potential increase in council tax could deter development altogether.

Charles's comments were featured in the Financial Times.

To read the full Financial Times article, please follow the link: http://on.ft.com/1PLCCPT


6th January 2016

Changes to Scotland's empty business rates as of April 2016

Budget changes:

The draft Scottish Budget speech on 16 December 2015 by the Scottish Finance Minister, John Swinney made a number of announcements which impact on business rates. They are of particular interest to owners/occupiers of large business property (RV in excess of £35,000) and those with empty property.

Large Business supplement:

A significant alteration is the increase in the large business supplement from 1.3p in the pound to 2.6p, which is estimated to raise £130 million. The current (2015/16) uniform business rate is 48p with a large business supplement of 1.3p, a total of 49.3p in the pound. For 2016/17 the uniform business rate is expected to rise to 48.4p with a supplement of 2.6p. This means that we expect the rate in the pound for large businesses in Scotland will be 51p in the pound.

Empty Rates relief:

The Scottish Government made changes to empty rate relief in April 2013, which reduced the discount for non-industrial property. The Scottish Government have now made further changes to empty rates relief. At present empty industrial buildings are entitled to 100% relief from payment of empty rates, whilst other properties have been entitled to three months of 100% relief and 10% thereafter.

The new rules are:
Industrial: 100% relief for 3 months, 10% thereafter

Other properties: 50% relief for 3 months, 10% thereafter

As a comparison in England industrial property is currently entitled to six months with 100% relief, no relief thereafter, whilst other property has three months at 100% with no relief thereafter.


25th November 2015

Debbie Warwick appears on BBC Radio 4 ahead of the Autumn Statement

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has called for more transparency for the business rates system ahead of the Autumn Statement.

Debbie Warwick, head of business rates at Daniel Watney appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and said the industry was asking for more regular evaluations so businesses could plan effectively.

To listen to Debbie's full interview, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1NAdXgp


25th November 2015

Daniel Watney reacts to the Autumn Statement

Charles Mills, head of planning and Debbie Warwick, head of business rates at property consultancy Daniel Watney have given their reaction to the Autumn Statement today.

Charles Mills said that while the attention the government is giving to housing is a step in the right direction, in many ways its devolution agenda has held back housing delivery.

Debbie Warwick said that the business rates system needs to be made more transparent to give businesses a greater level of stability.

Charles's comments were covered in The Planner, Housing, WhatHouse? and Building Construction Design.

To read the full article in The Planner, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1lM5sG3

To read the full Housing article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1R8sxPb

To read the full WhatHouse? article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1Oikoa1

To read the full Building Construction Design article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1MFwmYW

Debbie's comments were covered in CoStar.

To read the full CoStar article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1MRsm5i


20th November 2015

Charles Mills on what's needed from the Autumn Statement

Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney has said that centrally-mandated housing targets would be a welcome move from the upcoming Autumn Statement.

Often local and neighbourhood plans are used to hinder rather than enable development, so Mills thinks some central government oversight would be useful.

Charles's comments were covered in Property Week.

To read the full Property Week article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1Pi5jUw


4th November 2015

Property chiefs would welcome higher planning fees

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has called for higher planning fees to be introduced, as long as these resulted in a better service.

Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney said many councils are severely underfunded and an increase in the fees they could charge would give them the resources to provide a better and quicker service.

Charles's comments were featured in the Financial Times.

To read the full Financial Times article, please follow the link: http://on.ft.com/1RCZhBb


25th October 2015

Social rent cuts will force RSLs to rethink

Daniel Watney LLP has warned that the government's social rent cuts could force many registered social landlords to rethink their business strategy.

Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney went on to say that without a solution many viable schemes could be held up in the coming months.

Charles's comments were covered in the Daily Mirror and 24dash.

To read the full Daily Mirror article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1jKx1Pp

To read the full 24dash article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1kevFvy


16th October 2015

Charles Mills says private developers will feel social rent cut

Housing associations have suffered a summer of discontent after the government took a hacksaw to social rents in July’s Budget announcement.

But the untold story is how this will affect private development, not just registered social landlords, due to the planning agreements in place across thousands of schemes. It could be a calamitous unintended consequence.

The 10-year pay deal for RSLs agreed in 2013 has been torn up. Rather than increasing by 1% on top of inflation, social rents will fall by 1% each year for four years in a bid to cut £1.5bn from the benefits bill.

Given the 30 to 40-year period over which RSLs set out their budgets, a measure which may seem innocuous to uninformed commentators has, in one fell swoop, knocked tens of millions of pounds off associations’ values.

Aside from the obvious direct hit to RSLs’ balance sheets, thousands of new homes built by private developers are at risk because of the way finance structures are set up to include payments received for the affordable housing elements.

Following the social rent cut, RSLs have much less money to complete deals with private developers and many are now being nervously renegotiated behind the scenes. As a result, many deals in the pipeline before the Budget, when the changes were announced, are now in jeopardy.

Wider schemes are affected for two reasons. Firstly, because all of the finances are interlinked – if money from the RSL is not forthcoming, the developer risks a domino effect in the chain of development finance. And secondly, planning agreements specify precisely how much affordable housing must be for social rent, shared ownership or sale. Therefore, if developers want to go back and change the numbers – so that an RSL is better able to afford the arrangement – then they need to submit an application to the council, known as a section 106BA.

This can obviously delay things and has no guarantee of acceptance, which could then lead to a costly appeal and huge delay. With planning authorities already under-resourced and over-worked, such additional work will only be a distraction.

Given the sensitivity of companies’ legal and financial data, negotiations to fix these agreements are of course being carried out behind closed doors. But we estimate that this problem could be affecting hundreds of schemes right across the country. Many developers are starting to look at planning amendments which could seek to renegotiate affordable housing settlements. This helps no one.

Almost all housing schemes will include an element of affordable housing and the cuts in rents have forced every RSL to rethink their entire business strategy in the hope of achieving what the government calls “efficiency savings”.

Yet if we genuinely see planning and development as key drivers of productivity, many would question how this move sits with a desire to get Britain building.

If a solution cannot be found, many potentially viable schemes are likely to be held up this winter.

(Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney, was writing in Estates Gazette).


16th October 2015

Permanent PDR releases the wrecking ball

Developers will be able to demolish offices without planning permission and replace them with homes under changes to permitted development rights.

The amendments, announced by housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis this week, will also make office-to-resi conversions under PDR a permanent fixture of the planning process and will enable change of use of light industrial buildings and launderettes to homes.

Lewis said the measures meant government could “tap into the potential of under-used buildings to offer new homes for first-time buyers”.

The demolition changes will be aimed at stopping the conversion of offices deemed unsuitable for direct residential conversions.

Charles Mills, partner at Daniel Watney, said: “It is a positive move. The challenge with many office conversions is the mismatch of floorplates needed for decent-sized flats and low ceiling heights, which can make living space feel cramped.”


13th October 2015

Office-to-residential conversions must protect employment space

Daniel Watney has warned that permanently relaxing permitted development rights for office-to-residential conversions could limit working space.

Charles Mills, partner and head of planning at Daniel Watney said: “Permanently relaxing permitted development rights for office-to-residential conversions will most likely give house building a boost, but it is important to protect employment space as well. Cities with lots of homes but nowhere to work are just as problematic as ones with lots of offices but nowhere to live.

"There is a danger these latest changes will see yet more disputes between councils and central government, at a time when they should be working together to deliver the homes and jobs Britain needs."

Charles' comments were covered in Architects' Journal.

To read the full Architects' Journal article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1LixgYl


5th October 2015

Business rates reform could prove a 'nightmare'

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has warned that granting control of business rates to local authorities could lead to chaos.

Debbie Warwick, head of business rates at Daniel Watney said the change might result in uncertainty for businesses, preventing them from long term planning.

Debbie's comments were covered in the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Financial Times.

To read the full Daily Telegraph article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1QUfzBT

To read the full Daily Mail article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1Lv6aCV

To read the full Financial Times article, please follow the link: http://on.ft.com/1LouQaO


2nd October 2015

One in five office-to-residential conversions vetoed by English councils

One in five of around 5,000 applications to convert offices into flats across England under permitted development rights (PDR) were blocked by councils between April 2014 and June 2015, according to new research.

Analysis from Daniel Watney LLP, a full service property consultancy, showed 916 of 4,887 applications for office-to-residential conversion (OTRC) were refused on ‘prior approval’ grounds across England. In London one in four (493 of 1,959 applications) were blocked between April 2014 and June 2015 while the average for other cities was one in ten.

This research, based on government data, is the first national overview of OTRC applications since planning laws were relaxed in May 2013.

Daniel Watney's research was covered in Property Week, Architects' Journal, The Planner, Builder and Engineer and 24dash.

To read the full Property Week article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1KTyJnK

To read the full Architects' Journal article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1MHDlSD

To read the full article in The Planner, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1L0nR6Q

To read the full Builder and Engineer article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1k9YBW0

To read the full 24dash article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1LS6QCk


11th September 2015

Rugby World Cup stadiums face £13m rates bill

The stadiums that are hosting the Rugby World Cup are facing a collective business rates bill of £13m, according to new research.

The 13 stadiums are expected to welcome half a million spectators during the tournament, which is set to deliver an estimated £2.2bn boost to the UK’s economy.

However, the study from property consultancy Daniel Watney shows that these venues come with a hefty price tag. The rates are based on the stadiums’ overall annual rateable value of £27m, which is used alongside a multiplier set by the Valuation Office Agency, to produce the rate liability.

Debbie Warwick, the head of business rates at Daniel Watney, said: “The research reveals just how high the take is from these kinds of properties. The World Cup may help to meet the high costs but this isn’t the case for thousands of business owners.

“Any moves to overhaul the business rates system before April 2017 are pre-destined to be ‘cash neutral’ for the Government who raise over £26bn annually from this tax with very low collection costs.”

Daniel Watney's research was covered in Wales Online and the Yorkshire Post.

To read the full Wales Online article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1R5hHr9

To read the full Yorkshire Post article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1jpPss0


20th July 2015

Daniel Watney calls for reform of the business rates appeal process

Debbie Warwick, head of business rates at Daniel Watney has called for a reform of the business rates appeal process.

Debbie Warwick says the current system is not sustainable. "The Valuation Office Agency has had a mammoth task in resolving the enormous number of appeals it receives, and has managed to work its way through a substantial portion of that backlog. However, we need a reform of the system - to reduce the number of appeals, which squanders time and resources at the Valuation Office Agency - and to make the system considerably fairer."

Debbie's comments were covered in The Independent.

To read the full Independent article, please follow the link: http://ind.pn/1KfHlJX


14th July 2015

Automatic planning permission for brownfield land

Last Friday the government unveiled a package of planning reforms designed to speed up housing delivery. Commenting on the new reforms Charles Mills, head of planning, said:

"The greatest challenge to developing on brownfield land isn't the speed of the planning process, but remediation costs and the sometimes awkward shape and location of sites. Granting automatic permissions in certain areas may just result in a whole wave of ill-considered developments. The quality of new housing stock is just as important of the quantity.

"Plans to sanction councils who fail to process planning permissions fast enough only exacerbates a problem in part created by cuts to planning departments. Increased funding for planners is absolutely essential to improving housing delivery.

"Powers to intervene in local development plans on the other hand may prove beneficial, if exercised with care. Local and central government need to work together, and not against each other, if we are to fix our housing crisis."

To read the full article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1JYYhkR


12th July 2015

Appeals over business rates running at almost 500 a day since 2010

Appeals over business rates running at almost 500 a day since 2010, totalling almost half of all business properties. The new figures in a study by property consultancy Daniel Watney come as small firms have hit out at the lack of action on business rates in last week’s Budget.

Debbie Warwick, partner and head of rating at property consultancy Daniel Watney, said: ‘The VOA has had a mammoth task in resolving the enormous number of appeals it receives, and it has managed to work its way through a substantial portion of that backlog.

‘However, we need a reform of the system, to cut the number of appeals – which squanders VOA resources – and to make the system fairer. Business rates remain the only tax where the taxing authority does not have to justify its figures and this only promotes more appeals.

‘More sophisticated computer systems, simpler exemption policies and regular revaluations would all help the system with perceived transparency, fairness, predictability and suitability, and ensure the Government still gets its income.’

Debbie was featured both in the Daily Mail and in The Independent.

To read the full Daily Mail article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1f3djez

To read the full Independent article, please follow the link: http://ind.pn/1KfHlJX


30th June 2015

Daniel Watney helps City & Guilds Group secure the sale of West Smithfield to Whitbread

Our commercial team, acting on behalf of City & Guilds Group, helped secure the sale of West Smithfield to Whitbread for £54m.
Daniel Watney secured planning permission for a residential conversion of the building in February this year to provide 74 flats. When the building was put up for sale in March it was marketed to both commercial and residential developers at a guide price of around £35m. The eventual sale price reflects a £700 capital value per sq ft.

The sale was covered in the Evening Standard, Property Week, Estates Gazette and CoStar.

To read the full Evening Standard article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1LFMOtm

To read the full Property Week article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1IJpp45

To read the full CoStar article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1Hullbw


26th June 2015

Daniel Watney condemns Right To Rent immigration checks

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP is the latest industry operator to label the government’s Right To Rent immigration checks as unworkable, ludicrous and disproportionate.

Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney, says letting agents and landlords lack the necessary know-how and training to enforce the checks, which the firm labels as ‘disproportionate’.

To read the full Letting Agent Today article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1eLA1s6

To read the full 24Dash article, please follow the link: http://bit.ly/1fJkER3


29th May 2015

Julian Goddard comments on Charities and their property portfolios

Charities are the unlikely owners of property portfolios worth billions. Julian Goddard comments on how they can ensure they make the best use of their assets while remaining true to their core values

To read the full article, follow the link: http://bit.ly/1FkerRx


26th May 2015

Daniel Watney’s planning team is expanding

Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP announces the appointment of David Graham as a new senior associate partner in the planning team.

To read the article in full, follow the link: http://bit.ly/1dwUIrh


8th May 2015

Daniel Watney's research shows planners throw out quarter of all residential applications

Our research found one in four residential planning applications in England were rejected last year. Particularly, Conservative councils were less likely to approve housebuilding schemes, the research showed.

The research also found six London boroughs - Hillingdon, Croydon, Newham, Bromley, Redbridge and Enfield - granted fewer than half of all residential applications received.

To read the Property Week article in full, follow the link: http://bit.ly/1KAHIes

To read the Financial Times article in full, follow the link: http://on.ft.com/1dh1f8F


27th April 2015

Debbie Warwick on business rates appeals

Thousands of businesses are still waiting for a decision on appeals they have made against their business rate charges, 18 months or more after they filed their claims. Data released by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) suggests that 19,400 companies that claim they were overcharged for business rates have still to receive rulings on their cases, even though they made their appeals before the end of September 2013.

In September 2013 the Government promised to resolve 95 per cent of almost 149,000 cases outstanding at that date by July 2015 – the clear-up rate currently stands at 88 per cent. Since then, however, further appeals have stacked up – the latest figures, published in November, suggested that 114,000 cases were outstanding in England and Wales.

Debbie Warwick, head of business rates at the property consultancy Daniel Watney, warned there could have been an increase in appeals after an announcement last year that no backdated refunds would be made on appeals made after 1 April this year.

“We await confirmation of how many appeals have been received by the VOA since September 2013 and how many of these remain unresolved,” she said. “Until we know this, it is unclear whether appeals are being settled any quicker or whether there still remains a large backlog.”


7th April 2015

DW's Residential Agency team complete prime lettings

Daniel Watney’s Residential Agency team has completed the letting of a new development on behalf of a private client in the prime location of Prince’s Street, Richmond.

The scheme which comprises of 6 units - two 2 bed and four 1 bed flats was completed in Q1 2015 and was fully let within 8 weeks, another good result.


2nd April 2015

Debbie Warwick on business rates revamp

Debbie Warwick has commented in Property Week on George Osborne's Budget and the launch of a "radical" revamp of business rates.

To read the article in full, follow the link: http://bit.ly/1y0e1lm or Download here


23rd March 2015

DW Business Rates team is expanding

Following a record year for Daniel Watney’s Business Rates team, Patrick Massie has joined as a Graduate Surveyor.

Patrick graduated from Northumbria University in 2010 with a BSc in Planning Development and Surveying. He joins having previously worked as a Property Manager for Ad Hoc Property Management and rating surveyor at CVS.


9th March 2015

DW appointed on sale of 24/30 West Smithfield

Following Daniel Watney's success in securing planning permission for the residential conversion of nos. 24-30 West Smithfield to provide 74 new apartments, we have been appointed to sell the freehold interest.

The property extends to a total gross internal area of 8,850.69 sq m (95,268 sq ft), generating a net internal area of 6,819 sq m (73,403 sq ft). The consented scheme provides 61 private residential apartments and 13 affordable housing units, delivering the following net saleable areas plus ancillary commercial floor space:

• 61 private units – 4,514 sq m (48,592 sq ft)
• 13 affordable units – 928 sq m (9,993 sq ft)
• Total – 74 units – 5,442 sq m (58,585 sq ft)

For further information visit: http://www.westsmithfield.com

Or contact our Commercial Agency team on 020 3077 3400


18th February 2015

Miliband’s business rates plan offers accidental boost to big businesses.

Research carried out by Daniel Watney LLP has featured in Property Week.

The research found that Ed Miliband's proposed reform to Business Rates could inadvertently offer tax breaks for major corporate such as Boots and HSBC.

Debbie Warwick, Partner in charge of Daniel Watney's Business Rates team commented:

“The last thing businesses need is more complexity in an already messy business rates regime. A better solution would be to initiate more frequent revaluations and reduce the complexity that drives so many appeals."

To see the article in full: http://bit.ly/1zK5b6p


13th February 2015

West Smithfield permission granted

Daniel Watney have secured planning permission for the residential conversion of nos. 24-30 West Smithfield to provide 74 new apartments.

The building currently contains 70,000 sq ft of office space and was previously home to City & Guilds, prior to their move into a new HQ at Giltspur Street.

In a landmark move and following almost a year of working alongside the City of London’s planning team, Daniel Watney’s planning team has secured the change of use, making the property one of very few City schemes to get the go ahead for large scale residential conversion.

Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney said:

“We are pleased to have successfully secured the change of use, significantly improving the asset value for City & Guilds, who are a charitable institution, and creating a unique and exciting residential opportunity. The imminent arrival of Crossrail alongside its proximity to both the City and Midtown means Farringdon has become an incredibly popular area with prime residential investors.”


6th February 2015

Permission secured for Institute of Physics

Daniel Watney have secured permission for the Institute of Physics new Headquarters on Caledonian Road.

The Institute Of Physics (IOP) is a world-leading, international scientific society with over 50,000 members. The new building will provide education and exhibition facilities that are inviting and accessible to the local community & local schools, alongside function and business development space and offices to support the operation of the headquarters.

Charlotte Goodrum, Associate at Daniel Watney said:

“This development represents an exciting new chapter for the Institute of Physics which offers an ambitious facility to embrace both its members and the community through innovative, well design space and world-leading facilities.”


6th February 2015

New Headquarters for Royal Academy of Dance

Daniel Watney have been instructed by the Royal Academy of Dance to acquire a new headquarters in Central London

RAD are seeking 50,000 –70,000 sq ft opportunities on a freehold or long leasehold basis for the HQ.Sites in the London Borough of Wandsworth on a freehold or long leasehold basis will be prioritised, but the Academy could move out of the borough if a suitable alternative cannot be found.

Featured in Property Week: http://bit.ly/1wuamvL


17th January 2015

Daniel Watney Business Rates debate hits the news

A report by Daniel Watney LLP on the highest business rates liabilities in London has been in the news (Estates Gazette, Financial Times and The Times)

The report has revealed that on a building-by-building basis, the Home Office’s 2 Marsham Street, SW1, has the highest rate liability in the capital at £12.5m with Harrod’s flagship store in Knightsbridge following close behind in second with a paying more than £12m a year.

Debbie Warwick, Partner in Daniel Watney’s Business Rates team commented:

‘Any moves to overhaul the system won’t happen quickly, particularly with an election in the way and any reviews designed to be cash neutral for the government, which raises more than £26bn annually from this tax with very low collection costs.’

To read the report in full, or if you would like to find out more information, please contact the Business Rates team on 0203 077 3400

See the full story:
Estates Gazette: http://bit.ly/1F4T5sH
The Times: http://thetim.es/1G6oSOd
Financial Times: http://on.ft.com/1u6PZDg


7th January 2015

New Year City disposal

On behalf of Helix Property Advisors, Daniel Watney LLP have disposed of the ground floor of 28 King Street, EC4 to GS Capital Advisors LLP, achieving a rent of £52.00 psf. The space comprises 431 sq ft (40 sq m). The office is located on the west side of King Street, close to its junction with Gresham Street, in the heart of the City’s financial district.


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