Equestrian property partly “appurtenant” to a dwelling

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has determined an appeal relating to parts of an equestrian property that were alleged to be appurtenant to a dwelling, and therefore subject to Council Tax, rather than to non-domestic rates. Whilst the subject matter of the appeal is a little unusual, it is not the first time that this question has been before the Upper Tribunal. The latest decision helps clarify the rather uncertain position as to what may, or may not, be considered to be appurtenant to a dwelling for Council Tax purposes. ...Read More

Assessment of aggregate processing plant reduced

The Upper Tribunal has issued a decision examining how the scope of a challenge to a rating list entry may be interpreted under the appeal regime introduced for the 2017 rating list, known as “check, challenge, appeal”, or more commonly as “CCA”. The decision also looks at circumstances in which the Valuation Officer sought to apply a valuation on the contractor’s basis (by reference to construction costs) to a property that was itself the subject of a rent. ...Read More

Assessment of Racing Stables reduced

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has determined an appeal relating to the valuation, for rating purposes, of racing stables in Wiltshire. Whilst the subject matter of the appeal is of a specialist nature, some of the Tribunal’s conclusions regarding analysis and treatment of rental evidence are of wider significance. ...Read More

Nominal assessment for museums confirmed

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has considered another appeal in respect of the valuation for rating purposes of museum properties. This is a matter that has been before the Upper Tribunal at least twice in recent years. The latest appeal by the Valuation Office Agency sought to introduce the concept of the socio-economic value of properties of this type. Despite extensive evidence showing that these types of property have a socio-economic value, the Tribunal concluded that such value accrues to the wider community, rather than specifically to the property concerned, and, in any event, there was no means to show that such value translated into a willingness to pay rent for the property. The Valuation Officer’s appeal was dismissed ...Read More

Valuation of large retail unit

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has considered an appeal in respect of a former Marks & Spencer store in Kidderminster. The Tribunal’s decision looks at the selection of evidence and at rental analysis in the current, difficult, market conditions for large retail stores. The determination of the Upper Tribunal represented a substantial reduction in the rating assessment of the appeal property. ...Read More

Assessment of car park reduced

The decision of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in BNPPDS Limited v Ricketts (VO) gives important guidance on the valuation for rating purposes of properties valued on the receipts and expenditure basis. The case concerned a car park at Putney Exchange shopping centre, but the guidance given by the Upper Tribunal has wider significance. ...Read More

Factory and warehouse assessed together

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has determined that a factory building and a warehouse building on sites separated by a public highway, but linked by a substantial conveyor bridge form a single hereditament for rating purposes. The Tribunal’s decision applied the geographical test set out by the Supreme Court in Woolway (VO) v Mazars [2015] and concluded that the three elements of property occupied by the ratepayer, the factory, the warehouse, and the conveyor bridge, should realistically be regarded as a single unit of property. The Tribunal’s decision also dealt with the issue of valuation arising from the finding that these elements formed a single hereditament, and applied an end allowance of 7.5% to reflect the split nature of the site. ...Read More

Rates mitigation schemes were “shams”

The High Court has found that licences made in respect of two properties in Cardiff were sham transactions, designed to avoid a liability for empty rates, rather than being made with the intention of being implemented. The Court also found that, in both cases, the landlord of the property concerned was in rateable occupation, and was liable for empty rates, rather than the alleged licencee. The decision in Queen Street Properties Ltd and Another v Cardiff City Council [2022] is the latest in a growing line of cases disputing the effectiveness of different empty rates mitigation strategies. In these latest cases, the company that purported to be the ratepayer was dissolved, but the District Judge, and the High Court on appeal, found that in both cases the landlord company was in rateable occupation. ...Read More

Assessment of retail unit reduced

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has allowed an appeal by the ratepayer of a retail unit in Upper Street, Islington. The Tribunal determined that the Zone A value for the unit should be reduced from £2,100 per square metre to £1,800 per square metre and that a 5% allowance should be made to reflect the irregular shape of the unit. ...Read More

Completion Notices found invalid

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has found that Completion Notices, served by a local authority to deem a property complete for the purposes of charging empty rates, were invalid in circumstances where the completion date set by the notices was before the date of service of the notice. Because the effect of the notice was to create a liability for tax on a counter-factual basis, this required strict compliance with the regulations, rather than simply “substantial compliance”. This decision will be of interest to local authorities, who serve completion notices, and to the owners of ne, unoccupied, buildings, on whom these notices are served. ...Read More