BBG consultant and leading London rates expert Rob Purkiss BSc FRICS is one of the capital’s most experienced advisers. Rob has an outstanding track record of success saving rates for BBG clients by winning judicious appeals.
Local Authority rates became an even more significant overhead for many London based BBG clients following the 2017 Revaluation of all commercial premises in the UK . Many office occupiers saw substantial increases in their annual rate liability since 1st April 2017. To compound concerns for London occupiers there is a further Rates Revaluation wef April 2023 albeit postponed from April 2021 by the Government as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. https://www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates/revaluation
In 2017 the Government also introduced a more convoluted appeal process (“Check, Challenge, Appeal”). This has placed a premium on the incisive, professional advice offered by Rob Purkiss. The process makes it essential that occupiers avoid the “blanket” appealing expounded by cold calling rates advisors on a “no win, no fee” proposition (which can result in an increase in rates liability or a disproportionately large fee!).
Amongst many provisions arising from COVID-19 the Government has offered 100% rate relief from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021 to qualifying retail, leisure, and hospitality occupiers to sit alongside existing relief on small office premises with Rateable Values up to £15,000. Given values in London very few office occupiers small or large qualify for relief. Currently, offices and warehouse /industrial premises are excluded. However, we recommend you consider applying for 100% rate relief if you have been forced to close down your office or warehouse/industrial premises ‘because of the Coronavirus’ from the date staff ceased operating from the premises. Any such application for empty rate relief should specifically state ‘…due to the effects of the Coronavirus.’
We cannot guarantee you will be successful with empty rate relief in this instance, but we consider the enforced closure of business through the ‘The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020’ is sufficient to make an application to Councils for business rates exemption during this period. We consider there is a good argument, despite equipment and belongings having been left at the premises that this would not constitute occupation.
For occupiers affected by adjacent building works there are continuing provisions to apply for temporary rates reductions whilst occupiers with vacant office accommodation are eligible for void rates relief.
Please call us to discuss your present rates, reliefs, the potential to appeal, and the 2023 Revaluation.