Business Rates Case Studies

Industrial & Logistics 

Region: North East

Issue: Provided strategic advice and an appeal service on 10 properties occupied by a major North East manufacturer with an annual turnover of over £100m. Sought reductions in rateable value in consideration of works being undertaken at the main facility and in respect of new buildings completed, as well as the merge of separately assessed units and the issuing of a transitional certificate to correct a billing error.

Outcome: Successfully negotiated all matters with the Valuation Office Agency and secured reductions in rateable value and the certification of the previous Rating List

Savings Generated: £450,000

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Solvent Recycling

Region: South East

Issue: Acting on behalf of a global Solvent Recycling company, we appealed against a notice the VOA served to backdate an error in their valuation.

Outcome: Following Expert Witness representations to the Valuation Tribunal, it was determined that the increase resulting from the error should be limited to an effective date the same as when the VOA notice was served and could not be retrospectively made.

Savings Generated: £80,000

Office

Region: North West

Issue: Instructed by a large Insurance Company to audit the business rates payable at their Cheshire HQ site

Outcome: Agreed a change in the valuation basis and a reduction in the £/m² used in the valuation after a full review of all the rental and comparable evidence

Savings Generated: £700,000

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Region: London

Issue: Instructed by a large west end firm of solicitors to review their business rates assessment who were located close to HS2 works in central London

Outcome: Significant reduction in the rateable value and savings have been secured, both for the disturbance caused by the building works and as a consequence of reducing the £/m² used in the valuation

Savings Generated: £750,000

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Region: Yorkshire

Issue: Acting on behalf of a large regional law firm in respect of a head office of 50,000 ft² and further offices split over 3 floors, we sought to reduce the values adopted and merge the individually assessed parts

Outcome: Successfully agreed a reduction in excess of 10% for the head office and merge of the ancillary office

Savings Generated: £650,000

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Region: London

Issue: A small international bank with its HQ building in Vauxhall instructed Sanderson Weatherall to review its business rates payable

Outcome: We retrospectively obtained vacant rates relief for the bank during the fit-out period when they first acquired the building and subsequently negotiated a reduction in the rateable value

Savings Generated: £100,000

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Region: London

Issue: Empty rates negotiation with Local Billing Authority to seek and recover void rates during period of redevelopment and marketing of client’s premises. Additionally, ensuring correct assessment of parts following lettings to different 3rd parties and negotiating correct effective dates with VOA and Billing Authority

Outcome: Empty rates achieved and backdated 18 months. Numerous areas separately split out, resulting in substantial savings for client.

Savings Generated: £250,000

Retail

Region: London

Issue: Acting on behalf of a prestigious retailer who relocated their flagship to Regent Street and carried out a full refurbishment & fit out programme lasting over 9 months. The rateable value was incorrect and various elements of the building required splitting out of the assessment and reassessing

Outcome: Successfully agreed a reduction circa 10% for the main rating assessment and full vacant rates reduction during the fit-out period

Savings Generated: £800,000

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Region: North East & Yorkshire

Issue: Advising a national retailer in respect of their North East & Yorkshire high street shops, head office and associated industrial premises, we set about inspecting, valuing and appealing their properties in the 2010 List

Outcome: Through our knowledge of local market values and awareness of physical changes occurring in the towns and cities their properties were located in, we were able to secure numerous reductions across their portfolio

Savings Generated: £500,000 +

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Region: London

Issue: Instructed by a firm in Fitzrovia to review their business rates assessment on a showroom

Outcome: Following representations via the ‘Check, Challenge & Appeal’ system in the 2017 Rating List, a reduction in rateable value of approximately 40% has been secured

Savings Generated: £150,000

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Region: London

Issue: Advice was sought by a retailer following disruption to trade due to the disturbance caused by the demolition & rebuilding of the shop adjacent

Outcome: Negotiated a 20% reduction in the rateable value during the period of the building works

Savings Generated: £30,000 per annum

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Region: South

Issue: Sought amended method of valuation in respect of small retail property as the property had been incorrectly valued as having dual frontage. To increase savings, also considered and negotiated a certificate amending the 2010 Rateable Value as at 31 March 2017

Outcome: Assessment reduced from £23,750 to £14,500 with effect from 1 April 2017. Accompanying transitional certificate issued amending the RV taken into account as at the last day of the 2010 Rating List, from £13,700 to £7,600

Savings Generated: £19,500

Leisure and Hospitality

Region: North East

Issue: Acting on behalf of a bar & restaurant we placed appeals against their assessment, first seeking a change in the valuation basis and secondly a reduction in line with other leisure premises in the locality

Outcome: Following representations to the Valuation Tribunal we were able to secure a change from a trade based valuation to a comparables / rentals valuation and a subsequent reduction in the value per square metre applied

Savings Generated: £150,000

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Region: North East

Issue: Acting on behalf of a local Wedding Venue we placed an appeal against their 2010 business rates assessment as the Fair Maintainable Trade and decapitalisation rate were both excessive

Outcome: Successfully agreed a reduction following lengthy discussions and the submission of cases in preparation for Valuation Tribunal

Savings Generated: £20,000 per annum

Specialist

Sector: Healthcare & Research

Region: Yorkshire

Issue: Instructed on behalf of a specialist private hospital and research company occupying a former office building. An Upper Tribunal decision provided the opportunity to re-appeal the assessment and seek a change in the valuation basis

Outcome: Agreed a change in the valuation methodology, altering this from a rentals based approach to one based on build costs and this reduced the rateable value by approximately one third

Savings Generated: £320,000

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Sector: Education

Region: North East

Issue: Retained to advise a north east Higher Education Authority for the last 3 Rating Lists in respect of buildings exceeding 3,000,000 ft². A combination of appealing initial List assessments, proactive monitoring and appeal for physical changes in each locality and the efficient use of reliefs and exemptions has been employed in order to mitigate the rates

Outcome: Significant reductions in rateable values and savings have been secured, with all opportunities for temporary reductions and reliefs exploited in order to deliver value to the client

Savings Generated: £1.5m +

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Sector: Theatres

Region: London

Issue: Provided strategic advice and business rates appeal services for a large London theatre operator. Successfully negotiated reductions in rateable value and agreed a revised basis of valuation

Outcome: Successfully negotiated all matters with the Valuation Office Agency and secured reductions in rateable value and the certification of the previous Rating List producing savings for the group of in excess of £300,000 per annum

Savings Generated: £1.2M

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Sector: Quarry

Region: North East

Issue: Retained to advise a north east quarry operator in the 2005, 2010 and 2017 Rating Lists, covering four sites. Annual review undertaken and appeals lodged as required.

Outcome: Reductions in rateable value arising from incorrect tonnages and royalties applied to quarry valuations and continued assistance with VOA yearly return forms.

Savings Generated: £125,000

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Sector: Power Generation

Region: National

Issue: Provision of appeal and liability advice since 2000 to an owner of multiple power generation sites including gas, coal, biomass and hydroelectric. Implementing a comprehensive management strategy for budgeting and forecasting purposes, incorporating continual dialogue with the VOA, Local Authorities and Client

Outcome: Pre-agreement of rateable values throughout Rating Lists and securing of payment plans and reliefs / exemptions, resulting in a reduction in net liabilities and the provision of a greater level of certainty in respect of amounts due

Savings Generated: Confidential

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Sector: Stadia

Region: North East

Issue: Acting on behalf of a premier league football club we were instructed to appeal the rating valuations of their football stadium, training ground and retail stores

Outcome: Following lengthy discussions with the Valuation Office Agency, reductions were secured with regard to the valuation of the stadium and training grounds

Savings Generated: £1.5m +

Empty Rates Mitigation

Region: North East

Issue: Instructed on behalf of a property owner to mitigate their empty property rates at a large North East site, comprising industrial and office premises

Outcome: Through devising and implementing a bespoke mitigation strategy and maintaining a regular dialogue with the Local Authority we have reduced their business rates liability by approximately 65%

Savings Generated: £200,000 per annum

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Region: Yorkshire

Issue: Having unsuccessfully attempted to mitigate the empty rates payable on a large office building themselves, we were approached by an individual only after they had been issued with a Court Summons for amounts exceeding £300,000.

Outcome: Following strategic advice on the best course of action and having contested the assessment with the Valuation Office Agency, we were able to secure the deletion of the assessment from the Rating List thereby eradicating the issue of empty rates altogether going forwards

Savings Generated: £500,000

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Region: North East

Issue: Advice was sought by a housing authority in respect of mitigating empty rates paid on an out of town office building

Outcome: Through devising and implementing a bespoke mitigation strategy and following negotiations with the Local Authority, we were able to recover all empty rates payments made by the client over a 3 year period

Savings Generated: £125,000

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Region: Yorkshire

Issue: Owner had a vacant 3 storey office block with an annual empty rates liability of £50,000. The building had been vacant for more than 3 years at the time of taking the instruction

Outcome: A bespoke strategy was put in place to help reduce the liability pending refurbishment of the office block

Savings Generated: Circa £46,000

Rates Management & Audit

Region: National

Issue: Instructed by a leading manufacturer and showroom retailer who required confidence that the rate demands they were receiving were correct, had been issued legally and payments were made in accordance the payment plan

Outcome: A management service was introduced, which meant the client received expert advice on the rate demands they received. SW have liaised with the Billing Authorities and with the client’s accounts team to ensure payments are made correctly and full budgetary advice is provided to ensure the client can forecast for its future liability.

Liability Managed

Total Rateable Value Managed: £18 million

Total Annual Rate Liability: £8.6 million

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Region: National

Issue: Client is a leading Educational establishment and training provider that needed a fully outsourced rates management and payment service

Outcome: All rate demands are received, verified and passed for payment. Funding requests are performed monthly, with the client depositing funds into client accounts so payments can be made in accordance with the demands and on time

Liability Managed:

Total Rateable Value Managed: £12 million

Total Annual Rate Liability: £1.1 million

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Region: National

Issue: Client is an Educational institute which runs several companies providing training courses across the country. We were instructed to verify past liabilities across the full portfolio and to recover overpayments

Outcome: The audit identified several locations were their leases had terminated and the accounts had been terminated incorrectly. Following discussions with the relevant authorities we have achieved multiple corrections to date that had not be identified by their previous advisors

Savings Achieved: Circa £80,000

Services

    Sanderson Weatherall offers a comprehensive business rates advisory service, from appealing rateable values and mitigating empty rates to checking bills and auditing payments made, our team of professionals are here to help.

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