A COVID-19 Update from our Commercial Partner, Mario Savvides

Mario Savvides

We have entered our fifteenth week of working from home and we are slowly but surely heading back to normal – or the “new normal” as we seem to refer to it now.

When I returned to work at the beginning of May following two family tragedies as a result of this wretched COVID virus, it became instantly clear to me that the commercial property market had been hit hard; new instructions had all but completely stopped. It made perfect sense too. Moving premises or investing in commercial property seemed to be the last thing on anyone’s mind whilst businesses throughout the country were trying to negotiate rent concessions and find ways to allow staff to work anywhere but their business premises. I believe I received one new instruction in my first three weeks back to work.

However, fast forward a few weeks and the landscape has completely changed. I am now inundated with new commercial property instructions and I am delighted to be able to start bringing back lawyers from furlough, to assist with the upturn. Last Tuesday (23 June), the Prime Minister announced the easing of the lockdown with social distancing decreasing from 2 metres to “1 metre plus” from 4 July which will see the return of bars and restaurants so we expect to start to see movement in those industries too as market confidence is gradually restored.

Our Corporate Commercial lawyers are also seeing a steady increase in new work, having been instructed on a number of small contract and business acquisition matters, a more complex company restructure and a significant company acquisition in the last few days. All of this bodes well as an indicator of the direction the economic recovery is going. My colleague Kush Birdi, our new Head of Corporate and Commercial at Grant Saw, has recently published an article for Insider News. The content for Kush’s article can be found here. We are also seeing a number of budding video stars at Grant Saw during the period of lockdown with Leena Patel taking centre stage recently. Leena’s video can be viewed here.

Last week, we publicised our Quick Turnaround Lease (QTL) service. Built for agents and surveyors, our streamlined service is specifically tailored to significantly reduce the length of time it takes to complete low value leases. The service is designed for commercial letting agents and surveyors dealing with smaller commercial properties with landlord clients who are willing to let their premises on relatively standard terms. The service is available in qualifying transactions via QTL Approved Agents and is ideal for high street shop lettings and other small industrial units. The QTL service has proved popular for agents marketing small high street lock up shops during the current crisis with several enquiries being received since our online advertising publication last week.

The mission of the QTL service is to significantly and safely reduce the length of time it takes for qualifying transactions to take a landlord from the agreed heads of terms stage, through to completion. Further details, including details of our QTL approved agents, can be found here – https://grantsaw.com/services-for-business/commercial-property/quick-turn-around-lease

As for me personally, during lockdown, I have spent a lot of time with my mother and brothers as we continue to help each other through what was easily one of the most challenging periods of our lives. We are all doing much better and on behalf of my family, I would like to say thank you to those of you who sent us all supportive messages over the past weeks.

Of course, we all need to do our best to stay positive, it’s vital for our mental health, and therefore we must always search for the silver lining in every situation, and there have definitely been some positives that have come from me working from home, such as getting my evenings back now that I don’t have to be up at 5.30am every morning, and having more quality time with my daughter, who celebrated her third birthday on Thursday – we made a real fuss of her and it was magical. I have also been keeping myself active through exercise (I am one of those who jumped on the “home gym in the garage” bandwagon) on top of the usual day-to-day activities in and around the house. We have embarked on some scenic walks and I’ve been meaning to go for a socially distanced walk with our Head of IT, Jamie Lawrence, who lives nearby, but as we’ve both been so busy, we haven’t quite managed to get round to that as yet. Hopefully next week!

As Partners, we are in constant discussions about ensuring the office is as COVID-secure as it can be to allow for more staff to work from the office very soon. We are conscious of fostering a new working pattern with staff wellbeing at the forefront of our thought process.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the next Partner update in a fortnight’s time. If you would like to discuss anything further, please feel free to email me or contact me on 020 8305 3531.