There’s a lot hanging on this case, including a lot of appeals by developers and property companies. That’s why Altus Group and others have financially supported intervention in the case by the Rating Surveyors Association and the British Property Federation. We wanted to support all ratepayers affected by this issue and widen the scope of the Supreme Court’s ruling in order that it provided greater clarity.
This decision forces the valuation office to recognise reality. Owners investing in redevelopment of a building cannot receive an income while works continue. That must now be reflected in the property’s value as it appears in the rating list.
The valuation office has been seeking settlement of appeals based on the Court of Appeal decision for two years, essentially ignoring the possibility that the Supreme Court would come to a different conclusion on the issue of how to value a property undergoing refurbishment or redevelopment. More concerning for ratepayers is that many valuation officers have used the precedent to resist deletion appeals; essentially extending the assumption of repair to property which has been demolished.
The valuation office has frustrated ratepayers by treating the Court of Appeal decision as the last word on these points of law. Many projects fell out outside the scope of the court of appeal ruling yet progress on appeals was blocked by reference to it.
It is good for the economy that property owners invest to create the spaces that the market wants. This judgement means that they will not be penalised for making this valuable contribution.
We now call on the Valuation Office Agency to swiftly move to update their rating manual and empower their valuation officers to settle the hundreds of rating appeals which have in many cases been held up for many years in anticipation of today’s ruling. It is a little over two years since the Supreme Court ruled in the Mazars case and a great many ratepayers have yet to see their rating assessments corrected. Such delays must not be repeated here.