How would the LVT liability be shared within a block of flats?

Sunday, 06 December 2009 15:28

This is best understood by first consider a simple example, such as a 10 storey block (with a lift) with one flat on each floor, each flat being identical in plan. At a first approximation the land value tax liability would be shared equally.

But it is usually the case that ground floor and top floor flats are more desirable and sell for a higher price. Thus it may be that, for instance, the top and ground floor owners are liable for 12.5% each and the remaining 8 owners share the other 75% between them.

Adding a further layer of complication, consider a situation with two identical flats on each floor, but with one having a more desirable aspect then the other. In that case, the apportionment on each floor might be 45% : 55%. Where flats on each floor are unequal in area but otherwise equally desirable, then the apportionment would be according to floor area. In practice, all of these factors would be taken into account together.

The presence or absence of a communal facility such as a lift will affect the way the charge is apportioned between floors. If a lift is installed in a building, then owners of the upper floors are enjoying a greater share of the land value.

The figures are illustrative only. Although details would have to be worked out, there is no obvious difficulty in principle in establishing how the liability should be apportioned.

If, say, the owner of the top floor flat has particular liabilities, for example responsibility for the full cost of roof repairs, this can be allowed for in the apportionment since it is possible to quantify the cost of such liabilities.

To sum up: in the case of a tenement where each of the multiple owners has a “flying freehold”, the key asset that requires to be valued for LVT purposes is the easement associated with that freehold. It would be valued on the basis of the “highest and best use”, i.e. the best improvements made possible by the easement, regardless of whether they are actually implemented. If the easement is a private treaty then it is between the parties of that treaty to re-apportion LVT liability, should they so wish.

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