top of page
Strip backgrouynd showing a desk with paper, pen and coffee cup


Hot Topic Highlight – Charitable Business Rates Relief and the Nuffield Health Case

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Building a Better You

Property Elite’s sole aim is to build better property professionals - supporting your career every step of the way, whether you are an AssocRICS or RICS APC candidate or a MRICS or FRICS Chartered Surveyor simply seeking engaging CPD.

We provide a wide range of training and support, so why not find out more on our website about how we might be able to support you? We work with candidates across all RICS APC and AssocRICS pathways, routes to assessment and geographic regions.

Don’t forget to sign up online for your free 15 minute AssocRICS or RICS APC consultation, including a review of your referral report if you have been referred. You can also book your bespoke training or support services directly through our eShop.

Not sure about signing up? Make sure you read what our recent successful candidates have to say in our Testimonials.


What is this week's blog about?

In this week’s blog, we take a look at charitable business rates relief and the recent London Borough (LB) of Merton v Nuffield Health [2023] UKSC 18 case.

This is essential reading for RICS APC candidates following the Local Taxation/Assessment competency, as well as qualified surveyors working on business rates instructions.

What is charitable business rates relief?

There are various forms of business rates relief available, including small business, rural, retail hospitality & leisure, empty property, transitional, freeports, enterprise zones and charitable.

Charitable relief is available where a property is ‘wholly or mainly used’ by a charity, charity trustees or a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC). This is set out by Section 43 (6) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

Proof of charitable status can be provided through the charity’s registration number or HMRC registration for a CASC.

Up to 80% relief is provided on the property’s business rates bill. This can be discretionally increased to 100% by the local authority.

If charitable relief is received, then other forms of relief such as small business relief cannot also be applied for.

What happened in the LB of Merton case?

The Supreme Court presided over this case, with a decision being reached in June 2023.

Essentially, Nuffield Health, a registered health charity, operated a gym at Merton Abbey. They also run various other gyms and centres across the UK.

The LB of Merton argued that because the cost of gym membership at Merton Abbey was expensive and not financially accessible to all, charitable relief should not be applied to the property.

However, the Supreme Court held that running a gym fulfilled the overall charitable objective of Nuffield Health, which was:

‘To advance, promote and maintain health and healthcare of all descriptions and to prevent, relieve and cure sickness and ill health of any kind, all for the public benefit’.

As a result, Nuffield Health were granted 80% mandatory rates relief at this property.

The precedent provides certainty for charities, property owners and local authorities on the application of charitable relief. Simply put, if a property is used by a charity to further it’s charitable objectives then charitable business rates relief will be applied. This is irrespective of whether the specific premises has a wider public benefit.

You can read the full Supreme Court judgement online.


How can we help?

  • Head to our blog archive to access even more free CPD and AssocRICS and RICS APC training and support.

  • Download your free AssocRICS and RICS APC resources, including e-books and revision quizzes.

  • Find out more about our bespoke AssocRICS and RICS APC training and support, before booking your free 15 minute consultation.

  • Not sure about signing up? Make sure you read what our recent successful candidates have to say in our Testimonials.


Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you.

N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, professional or financial advice.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page