Business rates are a hot topic, commanding the front pages of the property press. Cases such as that of a relegated football club, put ratings law under the legal microscope. Many businesses now struggle to keep up with the continuing increase in their rates, making it a millstone around the neck of corporate occupiers whilst generating £30bn revenue for local authorities.

The complex and ever-evolving methodologies and procedures make it a minefield for most with the Courts awash with high value rating cases, changing the existing norms and making the issue as much one about the law as valuation procedure.

It is now becoming more and more important for organisations to consider carefully whether to make business rates appeals and/or utilise mitigation schemes/strategies. The costs savings can be very substantial.

Cheryl Chisholm is very well placed to advise on business rates disputes and provide practical guidance on appeals against the Valuation Office, mitigation schemes, reliefs and exemptions having joined the firm from a large international law firm. The experience she brings with her includes:

  • successfully leading a reported judicial review action in the High Court which upheld the lawfulness of a rates mitigation scheme based on storage. The case gave a new definition to “beneficial occupation” and provided clarity on how to successfully mitigate rates;
  • working with developers to defend actions by local authorities for the recovery of rates when properties have been in the midst of renovation or reconstruction; and
  • advising on several high value rating appeals alongside surveyors for retail premises and shopping centres.

Business rates are a cross-sector issue, in particular in relation to occupiers with substantial portfolios or large single properties which attract high rates. She can help to assist with ratings appeals and provide ways to mitigate client’s liability, whether through schemes or appeals.

This article is from the autumn 2019 issue of Room with a View, our newsletter aimed at professionals within the property industry.