John Laing and Son Ltd v Kingswood Assessment Committee: KBD 1949

The appellant building contractors had been engaged by the Air Ministry to execute works at an aerodrome. They erected on the site, for the purpose of carrying out the contract, offices, garages, canteen for workmen and other structures. Although the site was handed over to the contractors, the conditions of the contract between the contractors and the Air Ministry specified that the execution of the work was subject to the control and direction of the Ministry’s Superintending Officer. In due course the local rating authority proposed to amend its valuation list by adding the contractors’ officers and other structures as a rateable hereditament. A special case was stated for the opinion of the Divisional Court on the question whether the contractors were in rateable occupation of that hereditament.
Held: The contractor’s appeal failed. The four conditions of rateable occupation are (i) actual occupational possession (which involves actual as opposed to intended user of the land in question); (ii) occupation or possession which is exclusive (ie if the occupier can exclude all other persons from using the land in the same way as he does); (iii) occupation or possession which is of some value or benefit to the occupier/possessor; (iv) occupation or possession which has a sufficient quality of permanence.
Tucker LJ said: ‘Mr Rowe has said that there are four necessary ingredients in rateable occupation, and I do not think there is any controversy with regard to those ingredients. First, there must be actual occupation; secondly, that it must be exclusive for the particular purposes of the possessor; thirdly, that the possession must be of some value or benefit to the possessor; and, fourthly, the possession must not be for too transient a period.’
Jenkins J, dealing with the fourth requirement, considered that it had been met by the fact that the builders’ huts had been on the land for the two years that work was being carried out there.

Tucker LJ, Jenkins J
[1949] 1 KB 344
England and Wales
Cited by:
ApprovedLondon County Council v Wilkins (Valuation Officer) HL 1957
Four builders’ moveable huts, which had been erected as temporary structures on a site for 18 months, only one of which was moved from one part of the site to the other during that period, were claimed chattels and therefore not rateable.
CitedTallington Lakes Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v Grantham Magistrates Court Admn 25-Nov-2010
The company appealed against liability orders made against it for non-payment of domestic rates, saying that in each case it had not been the rateable occupier. The property had been subdivided and let to companies of which the appellant was a . .
CitedJDE Plant Hire Limited v Barking and Dagenham London Borough Council QBD 2000
The company appealed against liability orders made against it. It owned premises which were subdivided and let to other businesses which it contended were the ones in actual occupation, since it did not benefit from physical, non-transient . .
CitedReeves (Listing Officer) v Northrop Admn 6-Mar-2012
The respondent occupied a tugboat with his family as his home. The appellant authority had sought to charge council tax, saying that it was a dwelling. The boat was not a houseboat but a live-aboard seagoing vessel, registered in the Small Ships . .
ApprovedCinderella Rockerfellas Ltd v Rudd (Valuation Officer) CA 11-Apr-2003
The taxpayer appealed against a rating assessment on a barge permanently moored at a riverbank. He claimed that as a chattel, it should not be rated.
Held: The vessel was a chattel, but its occupation could be an occupation of the riverbed. . .
CitedReeves (Listing Officer) v Northrop CA 17-Apr-2013
The taxpayer had successfully challenged the entry of his houseboat in the rating list at the Valuation Tribunal, but this had been re-instated at first instance. He said that the boat, as a registered seagoing vessel was not a houseboat, and that . .
CitedSunderland City Council v Stirling Investment Properties Llp Admn 24-May-2013
The Council appealed by cases stated against dismissal of its summons against the defendant alleging non-payment of non-domestic rates. The property owned by the respondent had been occupied by a tenant, but only by a small equipment box, and the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.181050