newsletter 30 July 2018

Claimants often own bits and pieces of property. Sometimes in joint ownership or on divorce or separation and so on. They and their representatives often argue these interests are of no value. Hbinfo has pointed out that there is an active market in such interests; numerous property auctions are advertised almost on a weekly basis and they will sell most property related items. The insurance and annuity companies and so on are always going to be interested if the price is right. Specialist areas perhaps but there is definitely a market.
So this latest decision is very helpful on this and should be including in any appeal.

“The tribunal’s fifth reason (for rejection) was:

(the valuer) does not provide evidence of the existence of a local market for [the claimant’s] actual interest in the property”.

The Upper Tribunal commented in response:

“I do not understand why there has to be a local market. There is a market for investment in interests that do not allow immediate exclusive possession. That may not be widely known among claimants, but it has been referred to in a number of Upper Tribunal decisions. It may not be easy to produce evidence of that market, but its existence is not in doubt”.

Capital is capital and unfortunately it must always be taken into account unless there is a specific statutory requirement or discretionary power to disregard it including where the capital held is of more complex nature. It must be said though that the Upper Tribunal has shifted its position somewhat from what was previously a much more liberal approach to property interest. With converted garages up for sale for prices of up to £300,000 in parts of the South East though, the reality is that almost any interest is worth more than £16,000.

The Treasury Committee issued a hard hitting report on debt last week suggesting that the debt collection practices of public authorities are “worst in class”. Expect tough legislation to follow in time:

“People become over-indebted not just through convenonal credit, but through arrears on bills, including those owed to central and local government, such as council tax. Debt collection practices of public authorities have been described as ‘worst in class’; debts are often pursued over-zealously, uncompromisingly, and with routine recourse to bailiffs. This approach risks driving the most financially vulnerable people into further difficulty. The public sector should raise its standards to the level of industry best practice”.

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