As Fixed Charge Receivers we are appointed on hundreds of properties each year from burnt out sheds to multi-million-pound houses. On day one it is important to fully investigate and understand what we are appointed over before deciding how best we can maximise the realisation value of the property.
Under the legal charge as a Receiver we have a number of powers and ways to maximise value, such as re-gearing a lease or gaining vacant possession but sometimes our years of experience gives us the ability to think outside of the box and help redeem or reduce the level of debt in other ways, including selling the contents of the property.
We were recently appointed over Chalmington Manor in Dorset. This building is a beautiful Grade II listed manor house with a separate lodge, stables and tennis courts in approximately 34 acres of land. It was fully furnished with ornate period furniture, oil paintings, a grand piano and chandeliers.
This is obviously an exceptional circumstance and it is often that chattels, which are items of property other than land, have very little second-hand value. However, as a Receiver, it is our role to identify anything of value that we have the power to sell to help reduce the level of debt, benefiting both the borrower and the lender. We cannot sell anything that we do not have any rights to, so from the outset it is important that we establish ownership of these items, as well as understand what constitutes a chattel and what is defined as a ‘Fixture & Fitting’.
We often use this old adage that perfectly describes the difference between a chattel and a ‘Fixture & Fitting’; if you can pick the property up, turn it upside down and shake it, the items that fall out are chattels, whilst everything else should be determined as a fixture of the property.
Over the years we have dealt with all sorts of chattels ranging from African drums to cases of vintage wine. There are often animated conversations in the team about the high value of Koi Carp or the demand for second-hand hot tubs.
We recently had a very interesting inventory list sent through to us after we were appointed as Fixed Charge Receivers over a warehouse. It turned out that the property had actually been used to film ‘adult’ movies and the property had been left full of props. A rather flustered graduate whose job it was to go through the list and highlight items of interest asked the question: “do you think there is any value in a bondage cage?” Strangely enough no one knew the answer to this question but it certainly led to a curious conversation and an intriguing internet search to find someone who had the expertise to advise us.
Determining the right value and finding the right buyer can be challenging for such a broad range of items and properties. Over the years we have developed an extensive network of experts that we can consult from fields such as art, antiques and even agriculture. We have often found that auctions are an effective way to sell an item and achieve the best price and a quick sale, particularly for items such as Victorian furniture and property. The more risqué items? Well, let’s just say we will do some internet searching. Life in the receivership team is certainly not dull.
Notes to editor
Annika Kisby is a partner and chartered surveyor working in the Receivership team.
The posts on this blog are provided ‘as is’ with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of their employer
If you would like to get in touch with Annika, please contact her:
email@example.com or 020 7543 6766