*Theatrical slang for unintentionally laughing or making others laugh in a non humorous situation to the point of bodily discomfort*
One of our Clients for whom we have previously advised on both tied and free of tie rental values all pre Covid decided to run the last part of the affair under his own steam. The referral to independent Assessor (IA) was with us closely looking over his shoulder at his request. He received the IA Determination last week. We were asked to further advise on the result and cross reference with the submissions to give him a clear advice path.
The pub in question is city centre, ground floor trading only and heavily food dependent. Linear in shape and occupying a corner position with much Nationally branded opposition very close at hand. Catering kitchen upstairs and no external trade facility as the building fronts the pavement. New FOT lease about to happen so the IA rent Determination is a current rent appraisal. We held our usual daily Zoom conference (amongst four of us on this occasion) and discussed the result and at the Client’s request and reviewed for him the strength of the evidence presented by the POB (Pub Owning Business).
Zoom 2 - Well it looks like the same old same old, scratching around for comparables that don’t exist, no detailed analysis of the previous RAP, just accepted as a fact, adopting the previous FMT and projecting upwards for the next five years and no analysis of the competition at all. Trade capability assumed precisely the same as before.
Zoom 1 - Whoa have you looked at the detail of the POB COVID overview. He thinks its unreasonable for the landlord to bear any significant rent reduction for Covid. Nothing as a cross reference to the new health and safety regs,just the general RICS warnings. Blow me down he has assumed that the market will recover its 1st March levels in three months time. This is a student friendly seriously squashed together trendy quasi restaurant for goodness sake. They now have to all sit at distanced tables.No vertical drinking at that long bar counter
Zoom 4 - This guy cannot be serious surely. He’s an experienced Chartered Surveyor. Been at it for ages. OK so it looks to be the lynchpin of his case. There’s not really much else is there ?
Zoom 3 - C’mon, get real, three months and back to normal (laughter)
Zoom 4 - (Laughter and wheezing) Don’t start me you little monkey
Zoom 1 - Should be a joke but is he anywhere market aware. There was still two metre social distancing when the proof went in to the IA. As you said the tables in there were well squished in.. Tell me he is seeing something we don’t (Muffled giggling followed by peals of laughter)
Zoom 3 - Yeah nothing about how this place is supposed to trade and safety regs….look stop laughing guys, we’ve got to be serious with this (chuckles) “sorry can’t help it (laughter) “Do you reckon they will appeal it ?”(collapses in laughter)
Zoom 2 - Don’t, my sides are hurting (gasp for breath) “yes they could be that daft, but gimme a break, three months. No a chance and he truly must believe it”. (uncontrolled laughter)
Conference call then falls apart. Not getting away from the rent which has now been settled by the IA. Whether the Determination does represent the true open market value only time will tell. Noting of course that in the new lease, the rent in index linked and on an upwards only basis. Even as now that the pub trade is down to one metre social distancing the capacity will near on halve. Financial survival? Fingers crossed but it will not go back to anything like pre COVID for at least two years, if it's lucky.