Here are some key terms from a surveyor's everyday vocab:
Freehold - Type of ownership of land and property, which is into perpetuity, i.e. forever. Most commonly people will own their residential house on this basis.
Leasehold - Again, a type of ownership of land and property which is for a fixed period of time. Essentially, a lease is just a contract to occupy. Someone else will own the freehold. The leaseholder will pay rent to the freeholder for the right/benefit to occupy the land or property.
Rent Reviews - A rent review most commonly occurs within a lease for a commercial property, a shop or office for example, where the lease is for 15 years. At fixed dates, usually every five years, the rent can be reviewed to market level, to take into account changes in the market and rental growth. Quite commonly for commercial leases the rent review will take place only on an upwards basis. In other words the rent cannot decrease.
Business Rates - Business Rates is a tax on the occupation of commercial property. The equivalent in the residential world is Council Tax. It is a rather outdated system which urgently needs reform, but yields the treasure approximately £27bn each year. The amount paid is based on the rental value of the property.
RICS - RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) is the governing body of all Chartered Surveyors. The role of RICS is to regulate and promote the profession; maintain the highest educational and professional standards; protect clients and consumers via a strict code of ethics; and provide impartial advice and guidance. Its membership totals 118,000 professionals and members are recognised by the designation after their name: MRICS (Member), FRICS (Fellow) and AssocRICS (Associate).
What does an average day look like?
Perhaps a little cliché but everyday is truly different. In September this year I undertook the role of Managing Director having been Head of Professional Services for 9 years, therefore my day-to-day role now involves greater management of the company and the staff across our offices. Thankfully, I still do jobs for clients which require me to get my hands dirty. These might include negotiating a purchase of a group of properties, advising on the structure of a new lease or just having a good battle over the level of rent to be paid on a pub, restaurant or leisure property. I am also increasingly acting as an Expert Witness in various disputes. Time in the industry, as I call it, out meeting people or visiting new leisure concepts, is vital and is a highly enjoyable, if an occasionally tiring part of the role. Fleurets cover the whole of the UK, so as Managing Director, there is an element of traveling but with seven offices around the country, we have strong local teams to deal with our valued clients.
How would someone go about becoming a chartered surveyor?
It is not a swift or easy process but it is one of the reasons why the qualification is so valued, by both those that hold it, and those who use the services of a Chartered Surveyor. Whilst there are a number of routes, the most common followed by young graduates is a structured two year training programme, through an accredited firm of Chartered Surveyors. At the end of this two year period the candidate is required to attend an hour long interview where their training and experience is examined. About two thirds of the candidates pass at any one time. As an assessor I have complete confidence that the process is robust and sufficiently challenging to ensure the integrity and quality of the qualification is maintained. It is a tough two years, but well worth it. I still remember the day I passed. I don't remember too much of the evening that followed!
For more information I would suggest reviewing the RICS website, www.rics.org.uk/apc