News, views and updates from Moorcroft Property Guardians.
There has been a lot of discussion within the Property Guardian Industry recently about how the use of Guardians can act as a Business Rates mitigation scheme. This is an interesting concept, but one with which Moorcroft Property Guardians disagrees.
Ultimately, as we have demonstrated in previous articles, Property Guardians are a tried and tested solution to provide security for vacant property and to protect the capital value of the asset – nothing more and nothing less. In the simplest of ways, Guardian’s presence at a property protects it from asset stripping, antisocial behaviour and helps to identify essential building maintenance that would otherwise go unchecked, thus diminishing value.
There is a debate that a commercial building can have its rating basis changed from paying Business Rates to the Council Tax banding – potentially saving a large amount of money by paying the lower Council Tax figure. Without trying to become Rating experts, this is technically correct, however there are a number of questions about the process that we think make this a challenging and potentially troublesome approach. Questions to ask about this approach include:
The other angle which Guardians could be used for Business Rates mitigation is for their occupation to be used to trigger the empty rates relief of 3 months once they vacate the property after occupying for the required period. This seems to be a more simplistic short term mitigation scheme with less of the potential problems highlighted above. It does though counteract the ultimate aim of using property guardians – to protect the property and its capital value – moving Guardians in to a property with the sole aim of making it empty again a short time later doesn’t protect the building.
In summary, our strongly held view is that to use Guardians for anything other than property security and Capital Value protection defeats the benefits that Guardians bring and worryingly creates the potential for further headaches at a later date.