Ratford v Northavon District Council: CA 1986

The reality of the agency of a receiver is reflected in the continuity, after the appointment of receivers, of the rateable occupation of the mortgagor through the agency of the receivers. The possession of an agent is to be attributed to that of his principal for rating purposes. The facts that the receivers had had representatives on the company’s premises from time to time during the receivership and that the receivers had managed the company’s business and controlled its assets were ‘quite consistent with the company remaining in legal possession and rateable occupation of the premises’. As to the authorities: ‘they all clearly show that the mere fact that a receiver has entered upon the company’s premises for the purpose of managing and carrying on its business does not necessarily mean that the company has been dispossessed or has ceased to occupy the premises for rating purposes. If it is to be shown that a change of rateable occupation has occurred, this conclusion must be derived from the terms of the receiver’s appointment or from what he has actually done, or from both together.’ The receivers having demonstrated that their appointment did not oblige them to take possession, and that in carrying out their duties they were deemed to be the agents of the company: ‘the onus . . shifted to the council to show that the receivers had dispossessed the company, or, to put it another way, to show that the quality of any possession of the premises which the receivers might have enjoyed was not that of mere agents. For possession held by a person in his capacity as agent is in law the possession of his principal.’ ‘It is a general principle of rating law that where an agent is required to occupy a hereditament in order to secure the better performance of his duties as agent, his occupation is for rating purposes ordinarily treated as that of his principal. If, on the other hand, an agent occupies his principal’s property otherwise than in his capacity as agent, the occupation will be treated as his own for rating purposes.’
Slade LJ, Ralph Gibson LJ and Sir John Megaw
[1987] QB 357
England and Wales
CitedRe Marriage Neave and Co CA 1896
The court considered the liability for rates of a company’s receiver: ‘The argument that, because a receiver and manager is appointed, then ipso facto the company or persons carrying on business are turned out, is neither reasonable nor plausible. . .
CitedNational Provincial Bank of England v United Electric Theatres 1916
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CitedGyton v Palmour 1944
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Cited by:
CitedIn re Beck Foods Ltd: Boston Borough Council v Rees and Bennett CA 20-Dec-2001
The council appealed a decision that the administrative receivers of a company were not liable personally for the non-domestic rates otherwise incurred by a company during the receivership.
Held: The activities of the receiver or manager were . .
CitedSilven Properties Limited, Chart Enterprises Incorporated v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Vooght, Harris CA 21-Oct-2003
The claimants sought damages from mortgagees who had sold their charged properties as receivers. They said they had failed to sell at a proper value. They asked whether the express appointment in the mortgage of receivers as agents of the mortgagor . .
MentionedRhodes v Allied Dunbar Pension Services Ltd CA 1989
The intermediate tenant had charged the lease to the bank, which appointed receivers. Both the sub rent and the head rent fell into arrears. The head landlord then served a notice direct on the subtenant requiring him to pay the rent direct to the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 September 2021; Ref: scu.183442