The judge The Honourable Mr Justice Sales has ruled on a rates mitigation case, that the transmitter box used by the Public Safety Charitable Trust (PSCT) does not meet the requirements to be given charitable relief.
He has deemed that the premises that has the transmitter box installed does not use the property for wholly or mainly charitable purposes. Taking a “common sense approach” the judge has dismissed arguments from the PSCT.
This is a stunning win for local authorities who have now effectively ruled out charitable occupation as a strategy for mitigation tactics. The PSCT have over 1000 leases where they are claiming relief. The landlords of these premises may now need to find an alternative way to reduce their liability.
This is far from the first time that the courts have been asked to rule on people trying to reduce the rates liability on empty commercial property. Another case in December 2012 saw Principled Offsite Logistics and their solution brought before the courts.
Ironically Principled were frank and honest and stated that they had a business model designed to mitigate business rates. The court agreed and Principled won an absolute judgement in support of their solution.
The PSCT case, which was funded by central government, has proven that owners do have options, however this latest ruling against yet another charity would appear to be limiting them somewhat.
Principled’s Regional Director in the North West explains “We have a solution that works in office and industrial space, however we feel that (in retail terms) a charity shop is far better than an empty shop. We would be happy to work with any charity that has a genuine need for space.”