What is a completion notice?
Legislation states that where it is considered that a commercial premises is structurally complete, or that the works remaining can reasonably be expected to be completed within 3 months, a completion notice can be served on the 'owner' of the commercial premises.
Brentwood Borough Council issues completion notices where it has evidence that commercial premises are complete. We may do this as a result of information passed to us by third parties or as a result of an inspection. A completion notice will be issued for commercial premises to the 'owner'. The 'owner' is defined as 'the person entitled to possession'. The completion notice is a document that specifies the 'completion date'; this is the date on which a commercial premises becomes rateable and enters the rating list for business rates purposes.
If the premises are unoccupied and empty from this 'completion date', then the premises will be eligible for a 3 month exemption, whilst it remains so; if it is an industrial premises, then a 6 month exemption will apply.
What is a Completion Notice?
Completion notices are documents issued on commercial properties which are newly built or approaching structural completion. Sometimes, a visit to the premises will be undertaken by an Inspector from the Revenues and Benefits department, to establish how close to completion the premises are. Information will also be sought from the developers of the premises and the owners.
Completion notice documents and information letters will be sent to the 'owner' at their registered or home address.
To appeal against a completion notice, you must contact The Valuation Tribunal within four weeks of receiving the notice from Brentwood Borough Council. You must do this in writing and you must include a copy of the completion notice. Please note that you must make a separate appeal for each completion notice that you receive, as they cannot be amalgamated. You can get an appeal form from the tribunal website or they can send you one.
The Valuation Tribunal Service
2nd Floor, Black Lion House
45 Whitechapel Road
The Valuation Tribunal is an independent appeals tribunal, funded by Parliament to handle council tax and rating appeals in England. It provides a free service and local hearings, and the members who hear appeals are volunteers.
The Valuation Tribunal provides a free service and they cannot award costs against you. You do however have to meet your own costs in going to the tribunal hearing, including any loss of earnings, and the costs of anyone you chose to represent you.
Alternatively, you can contact the Council to discuss the Notice(s) to see if any disagreement can be resolved without the need to pursue a formal appeal. Any discussions which are held with the Council will not affect your right to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal subsequently, although any formal appeal needs to be raised within the 28 days deadline.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Can a completion notice be backdated?
A. No, a notice and completion date can only be with immediate effect or up to 3 months in advance of the premises becoming structurally complete.
Q. How will the completion notice paperwork be issued?
A. By registered post to the home address or registered address of the 'owner'
Q. What happens if the property is up for sale and unoccupied on the date that the commercial premises enters the valuation list?
A. The property will be eligible for up to 3 months of exemption from business rates, or up to 6 months on industrial premises, where a property is unoccupied and unfurnished. Once the 3 or 6 months have elapsed, if the property remains unoccupied the full charge of business rates will be payable.
Q. What happens if I cannot complete the building work by the completion date due to financial or personal reasons?
A. Legislation does not allow us to take other factors into consideration for the purposes of setting a completion date for the date of entry to be changed for any reason, whether financial or personal. The property need not be structurally complete by the completion date, only capable of completion.
If you disagree with the completion date when the paperwork is issued initially, you have the right to appeal within 28 days of the issue date of the Completion Notice to the Valuation Tribunal.