Commercial property occupiers who are dissatisfied with the valuation put on their premises for business rates purposes can do a great deal more than just grin and bear it. In a case on point, the tenant of a waste transfer station succeeded in slashing its rates bills by more than 20 per cent.
The rateable value of the premises was initially entered in the rating list at £9,300. However, after a local authority valuation officer visited the site and noted various improvements, including the completion of a new office block and waste processing shed, that valuation was increased to £28,750. The tenant did not take that decision lying down and challenged it before the Upper Tribunal (UT).
Ruling on the matter, the UT rejected the tenant's argument that the premises should be split into two or more separate parts for valuation purposes. Although the site was subject to various sub-leases to other businesses, it was clear that the tenant had overall control and was in rateable occupation of the whole of the premises.
Turning to valuation evidence, the UT noted that there were few other properties to which the site could usefully be compared. Taking the rent paid by the tenant as its starting point, however, it reduced the premises' rateable value to £22,500. The UT noted, in particular, that the site's valuation was affected by its irregular shape, together with its narrow and shared access arrangements.