Proposal valid despite error

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has determined that a proposal to alter the rating list was valid, despite containing an error in failing to state the rent paid for the property. Errors of this nature do not automatically mean that a proposal is invalid. The question of validity has to be determined using the ordinary rules of construction and applying them to the facts in each case. ...Read More

Flooding risk not a “material change”

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has found that the risk of future flooding was not a "material change in circumstances" such as to justify a proposal to alter the rating assessment of the property concerned so as to reflect that risk. The appeal concerned a car supermarket at Hessle Dock in Hull, where the last flooding took place in 2013, but the site was subsequently recategorised by the Environment Agency as having a "high risk" of flooding and flood insurance was refused. ...Read More

Completion Notice validly served

The Supreme Court has ruled on a long-running dispute relating to the service of a Completion Notice, by Westminster City Council, in respect of a new office building in Kingsway, London. The effect of the notice was to deem the property complete for the purposes of business rates, and thereby to trigger a liability for empty rates. The Supreme Court found that the notice was validly served, despite being handed to a third party not authorised to accept service. The decision in UKI (Kingsway) Limited (Respondent) v Westminster City Council (Appellant) may well have ramifications beyond the field of business rates. ...Read More

2010 Rating Lists reopened

The government has now published regulations that will enable ratepayers in England who occupy contiguous properties, but which are treated separately for the purposes of business rates, to seek to have those assessments merged in the 2010 rating list. This is the reversal of the so-called "staircase tax". Those rating lists ended on 31st March 2017, but the new regulations will allow proposals to alter them to be made, in limited circumstances, between 17th December 2018 and 31st December 2019. ...Read More

Alton Towers’ rating appeal dismissed

In 2015, following the tragic crash on its "Smiler" ride, visitor numbers to Alton Towers fell significantly. The ratepayer, Merlin Entertainments, sought a reduction in its rating assessment on the basis that the fall in numbers represented a "material change of circumstances". The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has dismissed the ratepayer's appeal, and its decision offers important guidance on identifying when changes fall within the category of "material changes", justifying an alteration to a rating assessment, and when they do not. ...Read More