Wimbledon, Kipling and Brexit
“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters both the same.”
These are the words of Rudyard Kipling from his poem “If” which were inscribed above the player’s entrance to The All England Club’s Centre Court when Milos Raonic and Andy Murray met on Sunday afternoon at the Wimbledon men’s singles finals.
It cast me back to my youth when I first read this evocative poem. It occurred to me how poignant the opening line is given the significance of the political and economic events of the past few weeks. Few pollsters or researchers believed that Brexit would occur; however some of the so called “Project Fear” headlines seen in The Independent and The Telegraph have been proven correct, at least in the immediate aftermath.
In these uncertain times another famous line from Kipling’s poem is equally poignant.
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs.”
There will inevitably be fallout but it is how we react that will determine how well we come out of the situation. From a technical due diligence point of view, here are some thoughts on what you can do to safeguard your property and protect its value:
1. Use your service charge wisely whilst occupation rates are high
Now is not the time to cut back on maintenance. Make sure planned maintenance schedules are up to date and there are no arrears of maintenance. Ensure works are carried out by reputable contractors and insurance backed warranties are in place. Contractors suffer in these times too. Poorly maintained buildings do not attract premium rents and well advised tenants will require a schedule of condition.
2. Ensure your building stands out from the competition
If a tenant decides to leave, it will leave a void which will cost landlords money in terms of loss of rent, service charge, rates and incentives. Void lengths will depend on a number of factors, but to enable a building to have the best chance of re-letting quickly it should be well presented. Tackle dated receptions, lobbies or bathrooms. Invest in good Cat A fit-out specifications and ensure your building’s services performance meets occupier requirements.
3. Check your auditing
In the event that a quick sale is required it is important that the market does not smell distress. Successful quick sales leave little room for negotiation. Therefore, challenge your managing agents to ensure the things that can be controlled are in good order. This includes statutory documentation and testing certificates, warranties, licenses of alterations, contractual documentation and maintenance agreements.
4. Update your insurance values
One unfortunate side effect of economic uncertainty is the increased number of building fires resulting from criminal activity as we saw during the last recession. In the event that your building is damaged by a fire in another building you need to make sure that your insurance valuations are calculated using accurate areas and reflect current tender prices.
We may not “inherit the earth and everything in it” as Kipling ends his poem, but we might just get through these turbulent times and be stronger for it.
To read more about CBRE’s views on Brexit, download our “The Long Goodbye?” research report
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