Non-domestic rates liability confusion re: Leicester council?

by Readers Question

9:23 AM, 26th August 2020
About a month ago

Non-domestic rates liability confusion re: Leicester council?

Make Text Bigger
Non-domestic rates liability confusion re: Leicester council?

After my father died and probate was granted in Jan 2018. I received ‘zero rated’ tax bills for my late father’s shop and premises as a result of transitional relief Etc and only a Single token bill of £300 was issued in May 2020 for part the part-year after probate was granted. A total of 5 billing periods were received.

Only one had an amount due which was for £300. The other 4 were cancelled of any charge whatsoever.

As there were severe estate debts to fund but due to Title issues we were unable to sell fathers shop.

Instead, I decided as acting executor that our only option was to start a short tenancy in January this year for 2 years and 8 months to run concurrently with the debt order. Whilst we tried to rebuild the title.

Then Covid-19 caused lockdown and this was just as our tenant had completed enough repairs in order to start trading.

He asked the government for Financial assistance as paying his next rent would be a problem but told he me he didn’t qualify. He then got to open the shop for a handful of weeks before Leicester went back into lockdown. He said he could no longer afford any further payments and has not been able to contribute towards utility bills which my family and I are now having to stand.

I then received a dreadful shock from the council, I believe triggered by his enquiry, that all the backdated Non-domestic rate bills since probate (3years) were fully chargeable and no small business relief applied which had always been the case with father’s shop as RV under £15K. A jump from £300 to over £6000 was now being demanded with no explanation.

I’m also being told that the shop tenant is not liable for any rates whatsoever as he does not use the upper floors. These floors are In extremely poor condition and could only facilitate limited storage if that which he doesn’t need. His low rent already reflected the shop conditions, and he volunteered to complete repairs to help us both succeed. However he’s been unable to complete these too.

I have asked the rates department to assist, but all I keep getting told is to split the property into shop and residential..why? This defeats the object entirely. We want to sell the intact shop, not develop it. I just want a fair discretionary assessment of the extraordinary situation.

Due to the moratorium I cannot evict him but have served a section 21 to quit so we can sell and pay the debts, which a loss to everyone involved.

Could anyone advise or signpost me as to where to challenge which seems such an unfair decision?

Thank you.

Pippa


Share this article

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

Comments

terry sullivan

11:49 AM, 26th August 2020
About a month ago

you need professional advice--perhaps the council does too? alt. contact hmrc?

Chris Novice Shark Bait

13:05 PM, 26th August 2020
About a month ago

Auction sale during probate may have been a a less problematical way forwards with hindsight. You as an accidental landlord (a mine field in itself) have had multiple adversities conspire against you. The Council have no sympathy with that ... and may be legally challengeable. You and any other family members need to ask yourselves if you really want all the hassle? Sale by auction may be a best foot forwards still as repurposing of commercial properties has relaxed planning, and such retail outlets are under threat. An experienced investor may well take it on and purchase it as a distressed sale. You would have to agree to accept less for the property than first hoped, but any such sale would be swift and guaranteed. You can then take legal advice and resist the aggressive Council with proceeds if the balance of risks is in your favour. A developer may which to convert into 2 residential flats or one Town House, thereby assisting the residential housing shortage. P.S. I am not personally interested in doing that, but there will be those out there, younger than me that could be.

Badger

11:01 AM, 3rd September 2020
About 3 weeks ago

It's a long shot but it might also be worth contacting the Valuation Agency to see if they will assess the rates downwards due to the current condition of the property.

It is the VA and not the council that sets the level at which rates are levied.

I did this successfully in respect of council tax on my own property back in '92 and I am currently in the process of getting similar assistance from the VA (for business rates) in respect of a commercial building that we have that the local council have screwed up on.


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Winter Economy Plan leaves landlords out in the cold

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More