The ability to avoid business rates on properties undergoing works has changed following the recent Monk v Newbigin rating tribunal case.

The tribunal has found that when considering reducing the rateable value to zero, the property must be looked at ignoring the intention of the owner. When a property is in an uninhabitable state for any reason, the tribunal must consider whether or not it would be economical to reinstate the property back to being habitable. If it is deemed that the works required to do this would be economical to undertake, a zero rate period cannot apply.

Previously, simply stripping out washroom facilities enabled a zero-rating assessment. However, greater scrutiny means that the bar is now set much higher. As such, only where it is no longer economic to re-instate the property back to how it was are you able to succeed with a zero-rating assessment.

To gain our advice on the issues in this article or any other rural planning and development matters, call Richard Edge or Alex Orttewell on 01935 852170 or email