Reeves (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 Register; The question was whether it amounted to a heraditament.
Held: The listing officer’s appeal succeeded. Duration of the occupation of land, whilst an important factor, was not the sole determining one. Even so, the Tribunal had given insufficient weight to the long term nature of the mooring, and had been wrong to take account of ‘the overall circumstances of the mooring arrangements.’ The way the boat had been moored had no legal significance. The entry in the Council Tax valuation list was to be restored.
Wyn Williams J said:’ the correct legal position is that duration of occupation will always be an important factor when determining whether occupation should be regarded as ‘not too transient’ or ‘sufficiently permanent’. No doubt, in practice, there will be cases in which the period of occupation will be such as to be, in effect, determinative of the issue of transience or permanency. However, I do not consider that other factors will be irrelevant, necessarily in every case. In my judgment, it cannot be said that a court or Tribunal will act unlawfully, inevitably if it takes account of factors other than duration of occupation when resolving the issue of transience or permanency.’

Wyn Williams J
[2012] EWHC 415 (Admin), [2012] PTSR 1567, [2012] RA 117, [2012] WLR(D) 61, [2012] 1 WLR 2177, [2012] ACD 57
Bailii, WLRD
Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009, General Rate Act 1967 115(1)
England and Wales
CitedJohn 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 . .
CitedLondon 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.
CitedField Place Caravan Park Ltd v Harding CA 1966
The Court considered the rateability of a residential caravan site. The caravans were on wheels and retained their mobility although they were jacked up to keep them stable.
Held: Although a chattel is not a rateable hereditament by itself, it . .
CitedHilleshog Sugar Beet Breeding Co Ltd v Wilke LT 1971
Parcels of land were occupied for 9-10 months in a year.
Held: This was not too transient a period to establish a rateable occupation notwithstanding that in subsequent years the occupation passed on to the other land.
Sir Michael Rowe . .
CitedThomas (Valuation Officer) v Whitney Aquatic Co Ltd LT 1972
The ratepayers had a legal right to use a lake for sporting activities and to maintain a floating clubhouse on the lake. The clubhouse was made fast in a particular location upon the lake but it was moved in winter months to an island in the centre . .
CitedCinderella 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. . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromReeves (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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.451809