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

Fitness Centre entitled to charitable rate relief

The Court of Appeal has found that Nuffield Health was entitled to 80% mandatory charitable rate relief in respect of a gym and fitness centre which it operated as a commercial operation. Because Nuffield was a registered charity, and because its occupation of the property was for one of its charitable purposes, it was entitled to the charitable rate relief, notwithstanding that the operation of the property was for commercial purposes. ...Read More

Empty rates mitigation schemes represented “misuse of legal process”

The Supreme Court has found that empty rates mitigation schemes using special purpose vehicles involved a misuse of the legal process which, on the facts of these cases, entitled the billing authorities to claim empty rates from the building owners, rather than from the special purpose vehicle companies. This judgment is another in a now long line of cases regarding empty rates mitigation schemes and will be of significant concern to those seeking to mitigate empty rate liabilities in this way. ...Read More

Empty rates mitigation scheme was legal and effective

The High Court has found that an empty rates mitigation scheme involving intermittent occupation of a building complex that was otherwise vacant was an effective and legal strategy to reduce empty rate liabilities. The decision is the latest in a long line of cases disputing empty rates mitigation schemes, and will be greeted with some relief by owners of empty properties. The judgment also sets out helpful guidance on “occupation” for rating purposes, and a protocol for resolving disputes about rateable occupation. ...Read More