Anstee House, Kingston Upon Thames

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Client: Kingston College
Location: Greater London
Discipline(s): Business Rates

Kingston College faced a significant increase in rent at review at a time when the College was looking to relocate. Having acquired the property on very competitive terms during recessionary times the prospect of a substantial rental increase impacted on the College’s prospects of disposing of the property, which had a D1 Educational Planning Consent for a former office building.

The rent review clause provided that the rent should be reviewed to a D1 educational use, for which there was less demand, however the landlord argued that as the property had been previously used as offices and that landlord’s consent would not be unreasonably withheld to an alternative use such as offices, then the property should be valued as offices, which produce a higher rent. As Kingston College was seeking to relocate the alienation provisions of the lease only permitted either an assignment or an underletting of the whole which, given the state of the market, would impact on the property’s marketability.

GL Hearn challenged the landlord’s basis of valuation and rental evidence and successfully achieved a significant reduction on the landlord’s quoting rent. As part of the rent review negotiations GL Hearn also negotiated a Deed of Variation which would enable the property to be let in part, to maximum of three underlettings which was previously prohibited under the terms of the lease, at no cost to the College and which would greatly improve the marketability of the property. Simultaneously, GL Hearn met with and recommended a local firm of commercial estate agents to market the property on behalf of the College working in tandem with GL Hearn to achieve the client’s long term objectives.

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