Developers offered some rates relief after recent Upper Tribunal ruling
A decision recently came out of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) that is offering some relief for those undertaking redevelopment schemes.
Back in 2014, the decision of SJ & J Monk v Newbigin (VO) has caused many problems for those owning property in disrepair or for those undertaking redevelopment schemes. The decision essentially presented an inflexible test on the economics of repair in a world described as ‘cloud cuckoo land’ by more than one judge. This led to clear resistance from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in deleting assessments from the Rating List which, in years gone by, would have been deleted without question.
But fortunately, some relief was granted last week – September 21 – by the UTLC in an appeal made by the VOA that was unopposed by the ratepayer. Despite the ratepayer not appearing, the UTLC confirmed a decision of the Valuation Tribunal England in respect of a redevelopment scheme reducing an assessment to £0 with effect from 1st April 2010; effectively deleting the assessment of £57,500.
The facts are as follows:
- The valuation date was 1st April 2008
- The property was vacated on 25th May 2008
- The Compiled List date was 1st April 2010
- The scheme of redevelopment commenced on 1st July 2013 with the subject property demolished during September 2014
The Valuation Officer argued that the property, whilst in disrepair at the relevant date, was capable of being put back into repair at economic cost. He asked for the assessment at RV £57,500 to be reinstated at 1st April 2010.
The UTLC refused the appeal stating that the fact that the property was in a redevelopment area to be of more relevance. They considered that the planning permission for the scheme, the state of the surrounding properties and the environment to be crucial. In those real world circumstances they confirmed an assessment of RV £0.
We will see if the VOA take this to the Court of Appeal…
This case centres on a substantial three-storey office block: Mexford House, North Shore in Blackpool.
Pressure is still increasing on the Government to take action on business rates after the latest national town centre vacancy rate reached 10.2% last month.
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