Rating Manual - Volume 3 - Section 3 : S44A Certificates Partly Occupied Hereditaments

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Section 3 : Partly Occupied Hereditaments

Apportionment of Rateable Value for a partly occupied hereditament

1. Legislative Background

Section 44A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 provides that where a hereditament is shown in a local non-domestic Rating List and it appears to the Billing Authority that part of the hereditament is unoccupied but will remain so for a short time only, the Authority may require the VO:-

  • to apportion the rateable value for the hereditament between the occupied and unoccupied parts; and
  • to certify the apportionment to the Billing Authority.

The apportionment of rateable value by the VO is conclusive, not subject to appeal and does not have to be agreed with the Billing Authority or the occupier.

The rateable value to be apportioned is that shown in the list for the day under consideration as stated in the Billing Authority's request and is a reference to the rateable value shown under section 42(4) reflecting the physical circumstances existing on that day.

2. Apportionment of Rateable Value

A Billing Authority's request to the VO for an apportionment of the rateable value of a hereditament which is only partly occupied must be made in writing and should include:-

  • the occupier's name;
  • the Rating List details of the hereditament; and
  • details of the accommodation, which the authority regard as unoccupied.

In practise the ratepayer and Billing Authority may agree the parts of the hereditament that are unoccupied and the VO should not normally question the units or date for which the apportioned figures are required. However, if there is immediately available to the VO clear indication that an error has been made in the information provided, or other matters, the BA should be advised of such concerns and given the opportunity to confirm the instruction or revise the application.

The apportionment of the rateable value (reflecting rateable plant and machinery where appropriate) between the occupied and unoccupied parts should be made, without inspection of the premises, by reference to the recorded valuation for the assessment appearing in the Rating List in respect of the whole hereditament for the day of the apportionment.

3. Register Request

All requests for the VO for an apportionment of the rateable value of a hereditament should have a Valuation Officer Report (VOR) case created on RSA ensuring that ‘Section 44A’ is selected from the list of values available in the Special Process Code field on the Case Details’ screen.

The report reason code should be 11 – Other(Alteration) – Enter ‘Request for Section 44A’ in the reason description box.

Where an acknowledgement is to be issued a user should ensure that a ‘tick’ is inserted in the ‘Print Ack’ field on the Contact/Parties screen.

All ‘Section 44A’ cases should be allocated to a nominated caseworker to prepare the ‘Certificate of Apportionment’ immediately following registration.

4. Certificate of Apportionment

The certified apportionment should be issued to the Billing Authority on form VO 7060 within two weeks of receipt of the BA's request.

The VO's copy, together with the originating BA request, should be filed in the appropriate Core Records wallet.

Note once EDRM goes live then the originating request if not received electronically should be scanned and retained within the unique property records. The VOs copy of certificate should also be stored electronically within EDRM.

5. Clear Case

All ‘Section 44A’ cases should be cleared as ‘No Action’ on RSA using No Action Code 8 – Aborted.

The date of issue of the certificate should be recorded in the ‘Resp Date’ field and the appropriate ‘Resp Type’ selected from the list of values available on the ‘Contact/Parties screen.

Case remarks recorded should include the Apportionment figures.

6. Further Action

Where it is suspected that the present survey or valuation is incorrect as a result of the information contained in the Billing Authority's request, the certificate should still be issued, within the time limits specified, on the basis of the VOs file information. As a matter of good practice where the VO is aware that a revision may be required, the first certificate ought to be noted to that effect.

To ensure that billing authorities and ratepayers may quickly receive accurate information upon which to base rates liability, after issue of the certificate a further VOR should be raised immediately, this VOR should be cross referenced to the original request case – but no Special Process Code is required. The property should be inspected, and action to alter the list taken at the earliest opportunity, within the normal time limits for dealing with internally raised reports. Should the survey on which the apportionment was based be inaccurate, or the list is altered see paragraph 7.

7. Revision of a Certificate

Where the VO becomes aware that a certificate has become inaccurate, either due to incorrect survey information or following subsequent changes to the list entry, the VO should revise the inaccurate certificate without further prompting from either the Billing Authority or the ratepayer. A request from the Billing Authority is not required for a revised certificate.

A new certificate should identify the earlier certificate and advise the BA that it is a revision and replaces it.

A list alteration that has effect for the date of the apportionment for which the certificate is required may arise from:-

  • VO List alteration, or
  • settlement of a proposal

Alterations which have an effective date limited by Regulation 13A of The Non-Domestic Rating (Alterations of Lists and Appeals) Regulations 1993(SI 1993/291) may not cause the list to be actually altered for the day contained in the certificate request. Therefore, in most of these cases, a revised certificate will not be required nor issued.

However, where the factual information on which the certificate was based is shown to have been inaccurate for the day of the apportionment it may be necessary for the certificate to be revised. For example; whilst the correction of survey details may not, or cannot, affect the rateable value shown in the list, it may cause the apportionment of that rateable value to change.

For the avoidance of doubt, a change in the valuation approach to any class of property, as a result of litigation or policy change introduced after the date for which the certificate is required, will not require a revised certificate. Should a VO be approached by a BA for such a revision, which may result from a ratepayers request, the VO must seek further advice from the Technical Adviser.

8. Credit-Taking and Returns

Monitoring of work undertaken on requests for Section 44A certificates will be carried out via the CDB and SAS returns.

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