The only real benefit of the foolhardy Non Dom tax changes, instituted in the Autumn Statement of 2014 and exacerbated by the Referendum/Brexit result, is the emergence of the ‘uber tenant’.
These are international, high net worth individuals, who would have ordinarily bought substantial mansions of £20-50million each, but instead have chosen to rent these properties at eye-wateringly high levels which, in some cases, have exceeded a staggering £25,000 per week.
With Sterling being greatly devalued and the draconian banking regulations which apply to bringing wealth into this country, some of our international friends find it easier to rent than to buy, which is markedly pushing up prices, for instance, in the cherished areas of northwest London.
In fact, Glentree Rentals, run by Amit Soni, has carried out a series of these mega deals. This month alone, at an aggregate rental of £40,000 per week, which is unprecedented both for us and the locality.
These ‘uber tenants’ do not want to import their substantial wealth as they can invest this else where in the world in a much more tax efficient environment than to bring it to the UK.
By renting these mansions, they are able to live in the same luxury as if they had purchased them, with such exotic facilities as indoor swimming pools with seven star spas, grandiose reception rooms, more bedrooms suites than in a luxury hotel and gardens that are reminiscent of a small country estate.
If they are here in the UK for a limited amount of time, they avoid 15% Stamp Duty which could represent a saving of £7.5million alone on a purchase of a single property and an ATED charge on the company which would normally own the asset, of circa £160,000 per annum. In fact, saving these costs means that they can pay a higher rent which effectively, is free of charge thanks to the government’s obscene property buying taxes.
Since there are so few homes available of this kind to rent we are pleading with our clients to allow us to let out certain mansions, which hitherto have been only available for sale. This acute shortage is driving these ‘uber rents’ up to stratospheric levels, the like of which we have not seen in 40 years of trading.
In one particular case, a client from South Africa agreed to rent a £12,000 per week property based on a FaceTime ‘walk around’, as he did not want to miss the opportunity of securing the deal.
‘Uber tenants’ insist on the best possible standard of décor and anything that is dated will be rejected. When they come to the UK they bring with them an ‘army’ of domestic help, sometimes numbering seven in total by the time that they are finished with the duties of gardeners, chefs, chauffeurs, nannies, domestic cleaners, maintenance men and don’t forget the omnipresent ‘man Friday’. In fact, if the mansion does not have sufficient staff accommodation it is simply not good enough.
Often requested, is a garage space long enough to take an extended Rolls Royce Phantom motor car plus an assortment of exotic automobile trinkets such as Ferraris, Porches and Aston Martins. One property has an underground garage for 16 cars and this definitely is a winner for the cognoscenti.
The profile of these ‘uber tenants’ range from shipping magnets to movie stars. It appears that Kenwood, Hampstead, is a Mecca for them due to its proximity to Highgate and the American Schools which are some of the finest in the world. These leafy locations are nestled between the two charming medieval villages of Highgate and Hampstead and where 900 acres of heath land is on your doorstep. If you are sporty there are two golf courses within walking distance and very importantly, a private airport 30 minutes away. If saving time is so important then, technically, there is enough area to land a helicopter which will whisk you away to the City of London in minutes.
To have all these facilities, that are unique to any metropolis, and at the same time, having the privilege to reside in the greatest city on earth, London, is the Holy Grail, how can you blame them?