September 2018 inflation figures published

The September 2018 Consumer Prices Index (CPI) figure has been announced and shows a 2.4% increase over the previous year. This sets the upper limit by which next year's Uniform Business Rate (UBR) multiplier is expected to increase in England and Wales. ...Read More

Expert witness role clarified

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has issued an important, and unusual, decision in which it clarifies the role of expert witnesses before the Tribunal and rules regarding the fee arrangements for such experts. ...Read More

Assessment of Home Office building reduced

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has issued its decision in respect of an appeal made by the Home Office seeking to reduce the rating assessment for its offices in Marsham Street, London. The appeal was a successful one, but hard-pressed commercial ratepayers may be permitted a wry smile that even the Government is finding its own rates burden excessive. ...Read More

Use of offices by guardians not domestic

The Valuation Tribunal for England has issued a significant decision concerning the use of an office building by live-in guardians. The VTE has determined that the owner of the building remained in paramount occupation and that the building was not used "wholly for the purposes of living accommodation". The building therefore remained an office hereditament for the purposes of non-domestic rating and should be assessed accordingly. ...Read More

Rates mitigation scheme effective

The Administrative Court has found that a rates mitigation scheme operated by Principled Offsite Logistics Limited represented beneficial occupation of property, capable of satisfying the tests of rateable occupation. In its decision in R (on the Application of Principled Offsite Logistics) v Trafford Borough Council, the Court found in favour of Principled on the question of whether its occupation of a property at Stretford Mall in Manchester was beneficial, but declined to quash a decision by Trafford Borough Council to lay information in respect of the property on the basis that it was unoccupied. The decision is an important one for landlords of vacant properties and for those operating rates mitigation schemes in respect of such properties. ...Read More