Amid much property market turbulence, Dunlop Heywood, a UK provider of professional property services to public and private sector organisations, has recently secured in excess of £1.8m of vital savings against business rates for clients.
These include; Antler Homes, Bellway Homes, Crest Nicholson, Lagan Homes, McCarthy and Stone, Redrow and Vanderbilt.
In the UK, as with most sectors, the housing market has suffered significantly during lockdown. Up until this point, the sector had been thriving, buoyed by historically low interest rates and schemes such as Help to Buy – but lockdown has meant that new developments were delayed. With sales offices and show homes closed to the public, sales of new homes have dried up and revenues have plummeted.
Endorsed by the Home Builders’ Federation, the team at Dunlop Heywood has helped both existing and new house-builder clients navigate this turbulent period, advising on the implications of the changing legislation surrounding business rates and applying for the available support.
The team focused more specifically on minimising exposure to business rates for properties which qualified for retail exemption – a 100% exception from business rates from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021 – and applying for the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) for these properties.
Qualifying properties under the RHLG scheme resulted in received payments of either £10,000 or £25,000 depending upon their Rateable Value, and this too has been gratefully received by clients. Whilst the retail exemption will be of huge importance moving forward in terms of enabling clients to reduce overheads, the grants have been a much-needed source of income.
Dunlop Heywood Director Andrew Chandler commented: “The opportunity to pursue applications for retail exemption was made possible through Dunlop Heywood’s constant monitoring and reviewing of new legislation and our tenacity during discussions with billing authorities regarding qualifying properties. I am pleased that we have been able to make a meaningful and valued contribution to our clients during these unprecedented times.
“We are now underway with the second phase of a programme that has been tailored for our house-builder clients. This involves reviewing historical payments made through our rates’ auditing service and submitting checks against properties which are over-assessed, or which may need to be deleted in the case of sites awaiting development. Without action, these properties are simply a drain on housebuilders’ margins, at a time when every penny is needed to count towards business continuity and job retention.”
Andy Pickles, Group Tax and Treasury Manager at McCarthy and Stone – a Dunlop Heywood client – commented: “Having supplied the dataset and background to McCarthy & Stone plc business claim for the Grant, I was then able to leave the whole process to Dunlop Heywood. When I needed updates, these were presented in a timely and accurate fashion and it has gone really well as a result. We (McCarthy and Stone) want to give them more work if possible.”