The Supreme Court has this week handed down a very welcome judgment in Newbigin (VO) v S J & J Monk, a rating case with important implications.
The Supreme Court allowed the appeal, overturning the judgement of the Court of Appeal and has restored the previous established practice of ascribing nominal rateable values to property undergoing redevelopment.
As to the correct analytical framework in which to address the repair issue, Lord Hodge said (para 22) that the correct approach was:
i. to determine whether a property is capable of rateable occupation at all, and thus whether it is a hereditament,
ii. if the property is a hereditament, to determine the mode or category of occupation and then
iii. to consider whether the property is in a state of reasonable repair for use consistent with that mode or category of occupation.
In deciding whether a property is undergoing redevelopment, rather than being in disrepair, valuers can have regard to the programme of works which is in fact being undertaken. If, assessed objectively on the material day, the property is undergoing redevelopment and no part of it is capable of beneficial use, then there is “no basis” for assuming the property is in reasonable repair, and it must be valued as it stands and in the subject case at a nominal rateable value with the description “building undergoing reconstruction”.
The full judgement can be found here: https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2015-0069-judgment.pdf