Court of Appeal hands empty rates ‘lifeline’ to property owners

The Court of Appeal today sided with ratepayers over local authorities in a test case battle over schemes to help owners of unoccupied properties avoid paying empty-property business rates. The court struck out proceedings brought by Rossendale Borough Council and Wigan Council against property owners in their respective areas, clearing the way for landlords to employ similar mitigation tactics to avoid paying business rates on empty commercial properties. Many other cases have been waiting on the outcome of the appeal, with an estimated 11% of commercial properties standing vacant. But the ruling will thwart local authorities in their bid to