Consultation on proposed business rates changes

The Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities and HM Treasury have issued a “technical consultation” which sets out how the government intends to give effect to measures arising from the business rates review, the conclusions of which were reported at the Autumn 2021 Budget. The technical consultation covers measures designed to enable more frequent revaluations, together with proposed measures for new rates relief, firstly, for property “improvements” and secondly for investment in green plant and machinery. The changes proposed in the consultation will place significant new burdens on ratepayers, by way of requirements to report changes to properties or to property tenure, and will also impose new restrictions on ratepayer’s rights of appeal. The consultation package contains some measures that will be welcome to ratepayers, but also many that will not. ...Read More

Data centre space held rateable

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has determined an appeal concerning rateable occupation of data halls at a computer centre. The issue in the appeal in Ricketts (VO) v Cyxtera Technology UK Ltd was whether “white space” in the data halls formed part of the hereditament by virtue of being capable of beneficial occupation for its intended purpose. The Tribunal’s determination was that the space did, indeed, form part of the hereditament, but that it must be complete and capable of operation in order to form part of the hereditament. The Tribunal’s decision will be significant for owners and occupiers of new buildings of this type, and for Valuation Officers faced with the task of bringing new buildings into the rating list. ...Read More

Autumn Budget 2021

The Chancellor has announced a freeze in the business rates multiplier in England for 2022/23, as part of his Autumn Budget statement. He has also announced a limited extension to current COVID-related business rate reliefs for next year. But the “Fundamental Review” of business rates, announced by the Government in its Spring Budget 2020, has been reduced to a rearrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. The outcomes suggest it should now be considered as “The Review, formerly known as Fundamental”… ...Read More

Rating assessment of offices reduced on appeal

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has allowed in part an appeal against the rating assessment of offices in Chinatown in central London. The Upper Tribunal’s decision relied heavily upon the evidence of rents paid for other offices in locality, and preferred this to evidence of the assessments of other offices, which the Tribunal considered to be in a different location to the appeal property. ...Read More

Rateable values reinstated following temporary reductions

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by a ratepayer, and allowed an appeal by a Valuation Officer, in respect of the powers of the Valuation Tribunal for England, and of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) to order alterations to the rating list for limited periods only. This decision will mean that ratepayers, and their advisors, will have to consider what action they take to protect their position in cases where any adjustment to rateable value ordered by a Tribunal might be for a limited period only. ...Read More