Landmark has been at the forefront of the development of the law in this area, for both sides. Barristers have experience in all of the empty rate exemptions, including the rarer forms of relief (such as for scheduled monuments or companies in administration).
The mitigation of unoccupied rates can generate considerable legal, commercial and reputational complexity. There is a range of options available to the owner of empty properties, each of which carries its own particular risks and opportunities.
Landmark’s rating specialists are familiar with the potential and the pitfalls of all of these methods. We are highly experienced in advising both ratepayers and billing authorities on the legal issues associated with the various approaches taken to empty rates mitigation, as well as on the (potentially very complex) routes to defending and challenging such mitigation schemes in the courts.
Landmark barristers have been at the forefront of the development of the law on empty rates liability, and have been involved in most of the leading cases. Recent examples include:
- Ludgate House Ltd v Southwark LBC, a case which involved two Upper Tribunal hearing and a Court of Appeal hearing, all concerning the effectiveness of the “property guardians” approach to mitigation.
- R (Public Health England) v Harlow DC, the most recent case on intermittent occupation, in which the High Court gave definitive guidance on the correct approach the courts and billing authorities should take to assessing such schemes.
- R (Principled Offsite Logistics Ltd) v Trafford Council, perhaps the “high point” in empty rate mitigation, which established that an intermittent occupation scheme would succeed even if the occupation was for no purpose other than to secure rates mitigation.