The professional department at Oldfield Smith & Co recently secured a substantial reduction in business rates on behalf of our clients, the owners of the former Trading 4U premises in Uckfield.
This has been a major project, beginning in June 2013 when Trading 4U entered Administration and it became clear that the business would close. This left the owners of the building without a rental income and assuming responsibility for payment of the business rates, which on a building of this size runs into may hundreds of thousands of pounds over the 5 year life of a normal rating assessment.
Despite strenuous efforts to negotiate a settlement with the Valuation Office Agency, who are responsible for assessing rateable values on all commercial properties in the country, it proved impossible to reach an acceptable settlement. This left our clients with no alternative but to proceed to a Valuation Tribunal, where representatives for the parties argue their case in front of a panel at a hearing which is in many ways similar to court proceedings.
Bernard Smith FRICS, the Head of our Professional Services Department and a highly experienced Chartered Surveyor, handled all matters from lodging the formal appeal to providing representation at the Tribunal. This included the preparation of a substantial Statement of Case, setting out all of the legal and valuation arguments in support of the application for a reduction.
Last month, Bernard appeared for the owners of the building in front of the Tribunal and in a hearing which lasted around 2 and a half hours, argued the case for a substantial reduction. After hearing the counter arguments from the Valuation Officer and considering the evidence, the Tribunal announced earlier this month that they have awarded a substantial reduction in the rateable value of this property from £179,000 to £128,000 backdated to April 2010 – this is likely to result in a cash saving in rates payable which is well into six figures.
At Oldfield Smith & Co, we have the experience, knowledge and expertise to provide objective, professional advice on just about any commercial property related matter. We don’t charge “up front” fees and are always happy to have an informal discussion with our clients without obligation or charge.
If you have are looking for assistance with any commercial property matter – rent reviews, lease renewals, repairs, lettings, development, business rates or planning – come and talk to the experts at Oldfield Smith & Co. We’re here to help.