Developers looking to renovate shops and offices could stand to save thousands of pounds in business rates on the back of a landmark Supreme Court judgement.
Lawyers at hlw Keeble Hawson cite the recent case of Newbigin vs Monk as a reason for local ratepayers and developers to seek immediate advice on their business rate liabilities.
The case centred on a disagreement about the rateable value of a property in the North East that was being extensively redeveloped. The ratepayer argued that, because all of the services and installations had been stripped out as part of the refurbishment, the building should not be valued as if it was a useable office block.
The Valuation Office (VO) disagreed, claiming that unless a building is beyond economic repair, it should be valued as a property capable of being put back into commercial use. The ratepayer said the rateable value should be £1, the VO said it should be £102,000.
“This is a massive financial difference and, in the end, the Supreme Court came down on the side of the ratepayer,” explained property litigation solicitor, Sarah Finnemore.
“Although the question of whether a property is incapable of beneficial occupation will have to be considered on a case-by-case basis, the judgement has sent out a very strong message.
“It has huge implications for ratepayers and property developers across the country because it provides support for ratepayers to potentially seek to have the rating list altered during redevelopment.”
In the Newbigin vs Monk case, The Supreme Court held that the starting point for assessing rates in development cases should be to objectively evaluate whether a building is either in a state of disrepair or undergoing renovation works. It said the valuer can take into consideration the scheme of works which are being carried out on the material date for the purpose of making that assessment.
Legal 500 guide continues to rank hlw Keeble Hawson – as a key player.
In its latest edition, the guide recommends the firm in 15 practice areas and recommending 19 lawyers across commercial and private client practice departments.
Highly regarded and with more than 200 years of history, experienced commercial and private client teams provide the very best support, guidance and technical advice to entrepreneurs, SMEs and individuals.
Visit www.hlwkeeblehawson.co.uk for more information.