Latest commercial property news from Lambert Smith Hampton

Deadline looms for building work business rate refunds

The clock is ticking for companies seeking to reduce their business rates liabilities where they have undertaken refurbishment or building works that rendered the property incapable of occupation.

Following a “hugely significant” Supreme Court decision earlier this year in the case of Monk v Newbigin (VO), which considered the rateable value of an office property undergoing substantial refurbishment, businesses are still able claim refunds against their business rates liabilities as far back as 1 April 2015 even where the work has been completed.

Ratepayers themselves are no longer able to appeal against a 2010 rating list assessment. However, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has until 31 March 2018 to make alterations.

Paul Easton, National Head of Business Rates at LSH, said: “Despite the decision clarifying what had become an uncertain area of rating law, a vast majority of companies that may benefit are unaware that they may still be able to claim substantial business rates savings while they undertook refurbishment or redevelopment works on their property. However, time is running out to do so.

While the Supreme Court found in favour of the owner/developer of an office property, and reduced the rating assessment to £1 during the period of building work, the decision has implications for all property types and qualifying works and projects including conversions from one use to another, internal changes and reconfiguration from say one property into many and demolition of whole of part.

Paul added: “This remains a complex area of the law and, as such, we urge those ratepayers whose properties have been subject to works at or since 1 April 2015 to seek professional rating advice as a matter of urgency. In practical terms, applications to the VOA should be made by 31 December 2017 to give them chance to review and, if they agree, action a rateable value £1.”

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Paul Easton
Director - National Head of Business Rates

0191 338 8277

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