Jame Clarke - Rating
One year to go! It’s one year until the
2023 Rating List comes into effect with every commercial property being
revalued to reflect open market rental levels as at 1 April 2021. Although we
do not yet know the revised being applied an education guess would suggest
retail will go down, industrial and logistics will go up (a lot) and offices
will go up but very dependent on locality.
More relevant now is the COVID – Additional Relief Fund (CARF). On the 15th December 2021 the Government announced details of the above fund which replaces the right of appeal against the effects of COVID-19 on your property’s rental value. It is up to individual Billing Authorities to set their own criteria specific to their location for the distribution of this fund. A quick look at a small selection of London Borough websites gives the following information on CARF; LB Islington – those eligible should have been contacted, City of London – No details published yet, LB Tower Hamlets – No details published yet, LB Lambeth – No details published yet, City of Westminster – No details published yet, LB Camden – Scheme closed on the 4th March although all eligible should have been contacted.
Reports are coming in of a change in the way Councils are looking at Empty Property Relief (EPR) which grants a 3 month relief from rates when a property becomes vacant. A number of London councils led by City of London have reviewed how they interpret Schedule 65(5) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 in terms of their approach to the adoption and charge of empty business rates. The City of London and other Councils are no longer ignoring furniture left within hereditaments when testing occupation. They will only consider a hereditament vacant if:
1. The property is wholly devoid of all chattels, including tables, chairs and other equipment; or
2. The property contains only tables, chairs and other equipment but where these have been abandoned by an outgoing tenant. This approach will clearly have an impact on the serviced office sector but also have an impact on those landlords providing fitted space. Due to the nature of the change I understand it may be that a suitable test case will be taken to Court to get a judgement but in the meantime it is thought they will be applying the above interpretation.