Empty rates mitigation is a darker shade of the specialist area of rating it requires technical expertise, a detailed understanding of rating legislation and a degree of lateral thinking beyond the conventional approach; the other crucial element is a collaborative working relationship with our clients.
The processes applied by the Valuation Office Agency, actions of the billing authorities and interpretation of case law continue to influence:
1. The point at which new developments can be deemed complete for rating purposes;
2. The circumstances that can lead to the deletion/zero value of a Rating List entry;
3. Legitimate ways in which reliefs can be applied/re-applied.
The Canary Wharf and Newbigin v Monk case decisions in favour of the ratepayers provide clarity on commercial buildings undergoing refurbishment or redevelopment works; even so, there will continue to be situations pre-deletion or post-completion that incur an empty rates liability.
Each property situation requires a specific ER mitigation game-plan that considers:
• The earliest point to delete an assessment
• Rating valuation issues
• Deferring an entry in the Rating List
• Occupation prohibited by law
• Properties beyond economic repair
• The parameters of ‘beneficial occupation’
Empty rate relief periods can be reset following a short statutory period of ‘rateable’ occupation.
This component of an empty rates mitigation strategy benefits from a planned approach and a managed process, to ensure the void periods are applied successfully. Intermittent occupation solutions can utilise internal resources (where practical) or via our tried and tested external service providers.