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Our Services

With offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, our retail and business space teams have been immersed in their markets for over 39 years, gaining an in-depth understanding of owners’ and occupiers’ requirements.

These specialist teams provide expert advice on agency, rent review, rating, asset management, development and investment issues.

Our retail agency team is the largest in Scotland and currently active on 23 shopping centres and retail parks. Our business space team provides bespoke advice on office property throughout Scotland.

Business Space

"We recognise that the best deal is not simply a function of rent and rent free but the one that best meets the goals of our client."

We provide landlords and tenants with bespoke advice on office properties across Scotland. We have advised numerous occupier clients on relocation and lease re-gears, first seeking to understand our client’s business so that we can offer property solutions which match the client’s goals and objectives. In doing so, we recognise that the best deal is not simply a function of rent and rent free but the one that best meets the goals of our client.

Our expertise in advising tenants has led to many landlord letting instructions from clients, who recognise that our track record in the occupier market greatly assists in converting viewings to concluded lettings.

On many occasions we work on a confidential basis with clients leading them through difficult property decisions and managing the transaction until legal completion.

Case Studies

Development Services

"We have developed a market leading reputation in the foodstore market."

Our development team has been established for over 20 years. Since inception we have successfully advised UK plc retail, leisure, residential and developer clients acquiring or disposing of around 5 million sq ft of space with a value of around £4 billion.

In addition to our activity in the retail warehouse, leisure and residential land sectors, we have developed a market leading reputation in the foodstore market, having been responsible for developing much of Tesco’s Scottish estate and advising on surplus land disposals and development/re-use opportunities.

We also currently advise landowners with strategic mixed use land suitable for development.

Case Studies

High Street Agency

Our knowledge of Scotland’s high streets and retailer requirements is second to none.

Traditional high street retail agency is the foundation of our business. Our knowledge of Scotland’s high streets and retailer requirements is second to none and our retail and leisure teams are involved in a significant number of transactions each year throughout Scotland.

We act for a wide range of retail, leisure and landlord clients working together with the Professional, Investment and Agency teams, to deliver consistent, realistic and relevant advice. This allows our clients to adapt and react quickly in a dynamic, challenging and competitive market.

Case Studies

Investment

"We give clear, reasoned and pragmatic advice … leveraging EYCO's in-depth retail and business space knowledge and contacts."

Our Investment team has circa 50 years combined partner level experience in the Scottish and UK investment markets. We give clear, reasoned, pragmatic advice to institutional, property company, and high net worth clients, leveraging EYCO’s in-depth retail and business space knowledge and contacts.

Our team has advised on numerous major acquisitions and disposals in the retail and business space sectors throughout the UK.

Case Studies

Professional Lease Advisory

"It is our belief that a forensic approach embedded in the reality of the market delivers the best results."

We have over 36 years of experience advising landlords and tenants on rent reviews and lease renewals in Scotland and England. It is our belief that a forensic approach embedded in the reality of the market delivers the best results. We are guided by a strong professional compass in all we do.

Our teams specialise in three distinct areas of in town/shopping centres, out of town/shopping parks and offices.

In Town / Shopping Centres

We are retained to negotiate rent reviews and lease renewals in Scotland’s premier shopping centres including Braehead, St Enoch Centre (Glasgow), The Thistles (Stirling) and Multrees Walk (Edinburgh). We also act for many landlords of prime high street retail and leisure property.

We act in an advisory capacity for Boots, Starbucks, Arcadia and Pret a Manger. We also have an in-depth knowledge of the restaurant market and have acted for a number of restaurant clients.

Out of Town / Shopping Parks / Foodstores

We are recognised experts in the out of town market acting throughout the UK. Our current instructions include notable schemes such as Fort Kinnaird (Edinburgh), Glasgow Fort, Hylton Retail Park (Sunderland), Springfield Retail Park (Elgin) and Hindpool (Barrow in Furness).

Our retailer clients include UK-wide representation for B&Q, Wickes and Boots. In the food sector, we are retained advisors to Asda in Scotland and the North of England and act for Farmfoods throughout the UK.

Business Space

Working closely with our business space colleagues we advise landlords and tenants on rent reviews and lease renewals throughout Scotland.

Dispute Resolution

Where negotiations have failed, we have garnered significant experience in the dispute resolution process throughout the UK and EYCO is also represented on the RICS Panel of Arbitrators and Experts in Scotland.

Case Studies

Rating Consultancy

"It is our extensive market knowledge which enhances our ability to deliver the best appeal results for both landlords and tenants."

We balance our understanding of the UK rating system with exhaustive investigations and market driven conclusions. We achieve the best results either through negotiation or through our pursuit of appeals.

Throughout the 2017 Revaluation period we offered advice on assets with rateable values exceeding £200m. This includes our representation of the landlords of major retail centres including Buchanan Galleries, Braehead, St Enoch Centre, Livingston, Eastgate Inverness, Bon Accord Aberdeen and East Kilbride.

Our rates strategies are tailored at each location to positively influence lettings and in turn improve the asset value. Our efforts have ensured that major shopping centres had significant rateable value reductions at the 2017 rates revaluation. We have also delivered important savings for occupier clients such as Primark and Farmfoods.

We adopt the same market driven approach in the business space sector and using our agency expertise, deliver advice to major occupiers which have recently included Skyscanner and Rockstar North.

Multiplier / Rate Poundage

Business Rates Multipliers

2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23
England
Basic multiplier 48.4 46.6 48.0 49.1 49.9 49.9 49.9
Large property (RV >£51,000) 49.7 47.9 49.3 50.4 51.2 51.2 51.2
Scotland
Basic multiplier (< £51,000) 48.4 46.6 48.0 49.0 49.8* 49.0 49.8
Large property (>£51,001) until 2018-19 51.0 49.2 50.6
Intermediate property (£51,001-£95,000) 50.3 51.1* 50.3 51.1
Higher property (>£95,000) 51.6 52.4* 51.6 52.4
* 1.6% Covid relief
Wales
Multiplier – All properties 48.6 49.9 51.4 52.6 53.5 53.5 53.5

England – COVID Reliefs

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure properties received 100% rates relief for the entire 2020/21 year. In 2021/22 this relief continued with qualifying properties receiving 100% rates relief until 30 June 2021, followed by 66% relief from 1st July to 31 March 2022, capped at £2m for businesses required to close premises on 5th January 2021 and capped at £105,000 for other eligible businesses. In 2022/23 the relief will be 50% up to a cash limit of £110,000 per business.

Scotland – COVID Reliefs

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure properties received 100% rates relief for the entirety of 2020/21 and 2021/22. In 2022/23 the RHL relief will be reduced to 50% for 3 months only and this will be capped at £27,500 per ratepayer. These businesses will pay 100% thereafter.

Wales – COVID Reliefs

In 2020/21 and 2021/22 retail, hospitality and leisure properties with an RV <£500,000 received 100% rates relief for the entirety of those years. In 2022/23 the RHL relief will be 50% for the entire year, and this will be capped at £110,000 per business

Rateable Values

Checking your values It is possible to check the rateable values online through the Valuation Office and Assessors websites.

To find a value for properties in England and Wales it is helpful to use the postcode. If you do not know the postcode click here.

Useful Information

Introduction

Rates payments are a significant property cost for both occupiers and landlords.  Previously, rateable values which determine the actual payments were typically revised every five years. The last general revaluation was on 1 April 2017. The next scheduled rates revaluation should have been on 1 April 2021 in England and 1 April 2022 in Scotland. Due to the COVID pandemic, both have been delayed until 1 April 2023.

2017 rateable values (RVs) should reflect the rental value of a property as at 1 April 2015. After the 2023 Rates Revaluations, rateable values in England will represent rental values as at 1 April 2021 and in Scotland they will reflect rental levels as at 1 April 2022.

The actual rates bill will be based on the rateable value x multiplier (see the Multiplier / Rate Poundage page).

Rateable values are determined by the VOA in England & Wales and the Assessors Department in Scotland. These rateable values can be challenged albeit the respective appeal systems are very different. Rateable values can be checked here:

England & Wales – Find and check your business rates valuation – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Scotland – Scottish Assessors – Scottish Assessors Association website (saa.gov.uk)

In England & Wales the ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ system has been introduced.  This requires the ratepayer to provide information to the Valuation Office relating to the physical aspects of the property’s valuation.  Only once these factual matters have been checked, can the rateable value be challenged, with ratepayers then making further detailed representations to the VOA. The VOA should then revert to the ratepayer either agreeing or disagreeing with the ratepayers. If the ratepayer is dissatisfied with that response, they may then pursue an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal and charges will apply at that stage.

In Scotland, the appeal process is currently under review. It is highly likely that the new appeal system will initially allow the ratepayer to lodge a proposal after draft rateable values are published in November 2022. This proposal will require detailed supporting evidence. The proposed timetable for proposals will be restrictive. If the Assessor does not agree with the proposal the matter can escalate to an appeal.

Appeal Rights

Revaluation Appeal Process – England & Wales

The English / Welsh appeal system involves the ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ process.  The Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/155) and The Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) (Amendment) Regulation 2017 detail these amendments which are summarised below.

The ratepayer or the appointed agent must first of all register via the Government Gateway portal to ensure they have the legal right to review the rateable value.  Both ratepayer and agent must register and offer authentication to use the portal.  Once this process is satisfied, the ratepayer or appointed agent can progress to the ‘Check’ stage.

CHECK – Upon request the VOA must provide information it holds relating to the property that has been used in the valuation of that property.  The VOA may then specify any missing information that they expect to be returned by the ratepayer.  The ratepayer must then confirm the accuracy of the VOA information or highlight any error or inaccuracy.  The ratepayer must also confirm the accuracy of the information they have provided to the VOA.

This ‘Check’ stage is finalised when the VOA either confirms the accuracy of the information OR that any proposed changes have been accepted.  If the VOA makes no response, the stage is assumed complete after 12 months has elapsed from the confirmation of the information to the VOA.  This agreed information is then accepted to be the factual information to be used through the remainder of the appeal process.  Only once the check stage has been completed, the agent or ratepayer may progress to a ‘Challenge’.

CHALLENGE – A proposal to ‘Challenge’ the valuation can be made only once the ‘Check’ stage is complete.  There will be a 4 month deadline after completion of the ‘Check’ stage.  If the 4 month time period has elapsed, it will be necessary to repeat the ‘Check’ stage referred to above.  The ‘Challenge’ will require (i) grounds for the challenge (ii) detailed reasons and evidence and (iii) an alternative and specific revised valuation (not a generic figure that was previously considered acceptable under the earlier appeals process).  The VOA determines if sufficient information is provided to satisfy the requirements of the ‘Challenge’ process.  This stage can either lead to an agreement and revision of the rateable value OR withdrawal of the proposal.  If no agreement is reached, the VOA will issue a ‘Decision Notice’ setting out its decision together with reasons.  Only once a Decision Notice has been issued OR if 18 months has elapsed from the date of the proposal without a decision, will it be possible to make an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal.

APPEAL – An ‘Appeal’ must be made within 4 months of (i) the date of the decision notice OR (ii) upon the expiry of the aforementioned 18 month time limit.  The appeal can be against the notice itself OR the failure to issue a notice.  This process will involve an appeal fee, generally of £300 unless the proposer is a small business.  The appeal must include a copy of the Decision Notice, a copy of the proposal and any evidence forming part of it and any information provided by the VOA as part of the check stage.  The Tribunal will be restricted to considering only this evidence OR any agreed additional evidence, if it could not have been reasonably known at the time of the proposal being made.  The Tribunal must not take into account matters that did not form part of the initial grounds of the proposal and were not raised in evidence.  The appeal fee will be refunded for successful or partially successful appeals.

Revaluation Appeal Process – Scotland

There will shortly be a significant revision of the appeal process and it is recommended that ratepayers take specialist advice. A Scottish Government consultation on appeal reforms was conducted in December 2021 and the outcome is not yet published or finalised at the time of writing.  Based on the consultation documents, it is likely that a ratepayer will be able to lodge a proposal after draft rateable values are published at the end of November 2022. This proposal will require the ratepayer to provide detailed supporting evidence, which may be challenging for unrepresented ratepayers. The proposed regulations intend that, after a proposal is lodged, further evidence will not be able to be submitted at a later date, unless satisfying particular criteria.  The intended timetable for submission of proposals will be restrictive, with all proposals required to be lodged by 31st July 2023. The Assessor will issue a determination and if the Assessor has not agreed with the terms of the proposal, the matter can escalate to an appeal. An appeal can only be pursued where a valid proposal has been completed. The appeal will be determined by a local and independent Valuation Appeal Committee.

Material Change of Circumstance Appeals (MCC)

Beyond the revaluation appeal process, an appeal can be submitted where a change has occurred whether in physical terms to the property or if the amenity has been affected in some way (material change of circumstances or MCC).  Such changes must have had a direct effect on the level of value of the property. Alternatively, the beneficial occupation of the property by the ratepayer may have been affected to some degree.  The most relevant examples are increased vacancy rates, competitor openings, roadworks or general disturbance.

In England, MCC appeals are once again subject to the constraints under the new ‘check, challenge, appeal’ changes detailed above.

In Scotland, various Court decisions make successful ‘material change of circumstance’ appeals difficult to achieve.  It is now a complex area of legislation and further guidance should be sought.

Multiplier / Rate Poundage

The rate poundage varies between England, Scotland and Wales and determines the actual bill that the ratepayer will pay. Typically, the rates bill will equate to the ‘RV x rate poundage’. However, a transitional relief scheme exists in England and also for certain hospitality categories in Scotland which may distort this bill calculation. Advice should be sought on transitional relief.

Non-Domestic Rates are devolved to the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments and as such decisions on matters such as the rate poundage / multiplier and the various reliefs in Scotland and Wales are made by those parliamentary bodies.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Reliefs (COVID Response)

England Retail Rate Discount – England

Since 2019/20 the UK Government has provided retail properties in England with a rates discount. In 2020/21, as part of the Coronavirus response, this discount was extended to hospitality sectors and the discount increased. Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) properties received 100% rates relief for the entirety of 2020/21. In 2021/22 this relief continued with qualifying properties receiving 100% rates relief until 30 June 2021, followed by 66% relief from 1st July to 31 March 2022, capped at £2m for businesses required to close premises on 5th January 2021 and capped at £105,000 for other eligible businesses. In 2022/23 the relief will be 50% up to a cash limit of £110,000 per business.

 Scotland – Retail Hospitality, Leisure and Aviation Relief

Unlike England, until the coronavirus pandemic, there was no specific retail, hospitality and leisure relief. However, from 1 April 2020 RHL (and aviation) properties received 100% rates relief for the entirety of 2020/21 & 2021/22. In 2022/23 the RHL relief will be reduced to 50% for 3 months only and this will be capped at £27,500 per ratepayer. These businesses will pay 100% thereafter. These reliefs apply to properties being used for these purposes on any given date within the relevant period.

Wales – Retail Hospitality, Leisure and Aviation Relief

Since 2019/20 the Welsh Government provided ‘High Street’ properties with a modest rates discount (up to £2,500 for RV’s <£50,000). As part of the Coronavirus response, in 2020/21 & 2021/22 retail, hospitality, leisure and charities with properties with an RV <£500,000 received 100% rates relief for the entirety of those years. In 2022/23 the relief will be 50% for the entire year, and this will be capped at £110,000 per business

Small Business Rates Relief

England – Small Business Rates Relief

A ratepayer with a single property with an RV less than £12,000 will qualify for 100% rates relief.  If that property has an RV between £12,001 and £15,000 the relief will reduce gradually from 100% to 0%. If you acquire a second property, you will keep getting any existing relief on your main property for 12 months.  You can still get small business rates relief on your main property after this if both the following apply:

  • none of your other properties have a rateable value above £2,900
  • the total rateable value of all your properties is less than £20,000 (£28,000 in London)

Business rates relief: Small business rate relief – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Scotland – Small Business Rates Relief

A ratepayer with an individual property with an RV up to £15,000 will qualify for 100% rates relief.  If the rateable value is between £15,001 and £18,000 the relief will be 25%.  If the ratepayer has more than one commercial property with a combined RV between £18,001 and £35,000, they will get 25% on each individual property with an RV less than £18,000. https://www.mygov.scot/business-rates-relief/small-business-bonus-scheme 

Wales – Small Business Rates Relief

The Welsh Government provides non-domestic rates relief to eligible small businesses. Eligible business premises with a rateable value of up to £6,000 will receive 100% relief; and those with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000 will receive relief on a tapered basis from 100% to zero. Business Rates Relief in Wales | Business Wales (gov.wales)

Liability Calculation

The actual rates bill will be determined by multiplying the rateable value by the appropriate rate poundage / multiplier.  However, this calculation may also be influenced in England by ‘transitional relief’ (which phases in larger increases or decreases in a bill, which would follow a rateable value change at a revaluation).

Empty Property Relief

There are different schemes for the rating of unoccupied property in Scotland and England & Wales.

England – Empty Relief

Persons entitled to possession are liable for 100% of the occupied liability after three months (six months for industrial properties). There are however limited exceptions summarised below:

  • Listed buildings
  • Charities
  • Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs)
  • Insolvency
  • Properties with a rateable value less than £2,600

Anti-avoidance provisions have been introduced, preventing owners from constructively vandalising their own properties. Business rates relief: Exempted buildings and empty buildings relief – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Scotland – Empty Relief

A vacant property qualifies for 50% relief for first the 3 months with only 10% relief thereafter.  Industrial properties qualify for 100% relief for the first 6 months they are vacant, with 10% relief thereafter.  The relief is associated with the property not the ratepayer.  Therefore, if a property has been vacant and, for example, the landlord then becomes responsible for rates payments, the previous ratepayer will have exhausted the 3 (or 6) months 50% empty property relief. There are Limited exemptions which qualify for indefinite 100% relief whilst vacant.

  • Listed buildings
  • Insolvency, bankruptcy or administration
  • Legal prohibition for occupying the property
  • Properties with a RV less than £1,700

Responsibility for empty rates relief will be devolved to each local council area with effect from 1 April 2023. Changes to the relief system should be anticipated. Reliefs for empty or newly re-occupied properties – mygov.scot

Wales – Empty Relief

Empty business properties are exempt from paying business rates for 3 months after the property becomes unoccupied. Vacant industrial properties have a 6 month exemption.

There are additional exemptions for certain types of property or for properties under a set rateable value. These include:

  • listed buildings which are exempt until they become occupied again
  • buildings with a rateable value under £2,600
  • properties owned by charities, which are exempt if the property’s next use is likely to be wholly or mainly for charitable purposes
  • community amateur sports club buildings which are exempt if their next use is likely to be wholly or mainly for a sports club
  • a business whose owner is a company which is subject to a winding-up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is being wound up voluntarily under that Act
  • a business whose owner is a company in administration
  • a business whose owner is entitled to possession only in his or her capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person.

Business Rates Relief in Wales | Business Wales (gov.wales)

Scotland – Fresh Start Relief

A ‘Fresh Start’ scheme will give new occupants of all property types which have been empty for +6 months, 100% relief for the first year of occupation. The rateable value of a qualifying property must be beneath £95,000. Reliefs for empty or newly re-occupied properties – mygov.scot

Scotland – Business Growth Accelerator

New build premises

If your premises are new build, you’ll not have to pay non-domestic rates until 12 months after the building was completed. Non-domestic rates also do not have to be paid on new builds until they’re occupied. New tenants will then qualify for business growth accelerator relief for 12 months. From 1 April 2021, new builds that are unoccupied may be able to claim relief for up to 3 years.

Expanding or making improvements to your premises

If you have to expand or make improvements to your property the non-domestic rates you’re charged will not change for 12 months. They will continue to be based on your old rateable value for this period of time.

 Business Growth Accelerator Relief – mygov.scot

 

Contact our head of rating for further advice:

Craig Wilson – 0131 558 5145 email: cwilson@eyco.co.uk

Case Studies

Restaurants & Leisure

"EYCO has developed significant expertise in the restaurant and leisure sectors."

Leisure is becoming central to the creation of a successful retail destination. Consumer shopping patterns have changed significantly and EYCO has developed extensive expertise in the restaurant and leisure sectors to enhance our existing core strengths and to allow us to provide the comprehensive service our clients require.

Our team has been busy acquiring for several major restaurant concepts including Byron, Pizza Express, Ask, Zizzi, Burger King, Pure Gym, Papa John’s and Starbucks, as well as younger brands including Bread Meats Bread.

This expertise has been put to good use in a number of retail, leisure and mixed use developments over recent years and our team is currently advising on a number of shopping centre and city centre projects nationwide including St Enoch, Glasgow; Bon Accord, Aberdeen and The Gate in Newcastle.

Case Studies

Retail Parks

Our highly experienced team brings much more to the table than brokers, helping clients to develop long term leasing strategies with a view to adding value over a sustained period of time.

Our Retail Parks team acts for numerous landlords – including three of the five largest UK Retail Park owners. Our highly experienced team brings much more to the table than brokers, helping clients to develop long-term leasing strategies with a view to adding value over a sustained period of time. Our retailer contacts and our extensive In Town and Shopping Centre experience are attributes which our clients value highly.

Our team also acts throughout the UK, acquiring and disposing of property for a significant number of major retail clients including Tesco, Primark, B&Q, Schuh and Starbucks.

Case Studies

Retailer Representation

We pride ourselves on the long term relationships we develop with our retail clients.

Our business has been built on a foundation of strong retailer contacts and we currently work for many national retailers assisting them with a variety of services including:
• Acquisitions
• Disposals
• Rent reviews
• Portfolio strategies
• Rating
• Lease renewals & re-gears

We pride ourselves on the long term relationships we develop with our retail clients. The majority of our business is repeat business and a good number of our clients have used our services for 10 years or more.

The pace of change in the retail market continues to increase and we ensure that we stay at the forefront of this to enable us to provide the quality of advice that our clients require.

Case Studies

Shopping Centres & Shopping Parks

It is our strong retailer contacts, along with our understanding of the investment, valuation and development dynamics which allow us to perform the strategic role our clients value so much.

Our highly experienced team is well respected in the UK shopping centre market. We deal with a wide range of assets, from prime shopping centres and parks to value centres in smaller towns.

Honesty, realism and hard work are attributes we will demonstrate time and again, but in a vibrant and fast moving market it is our strong retailer contacts, along with our understanding of the investment, valuation and development dynamics, which allow us to perform the strategic role our clients value so much.

As a result, our team is advising on more Scottish shopping centres and parks than any other firm. We are retained letting agents on 23 shopping centres and retail parks extending to 6.8 million sq ft of retail space.

Case Studies