Rating Manual section 6 part 3: valuation of all property classes

Section 255: civil ceremony, wedding and function venues

This publication is intended for Valuation Officers. It may contain links to internal resources that are not available through this version.

1. Scope

This class covers several different types of property. Civil ceremony, wedding or function venues are often substantial period country houses or stately homes but can also be converted properties e.g. barns and coach houses as well as period houses where the main function space is sometimes a marquee in the grounds.

The main use of the hereditament will be the provision of a function venue, principally for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, but there may also be conference use during the mid-week period. Generally, any rooms provided within the hereditament as bed & breakfast accommodation will be ancillary to this use.

Use as a function/wedding venue may be coupled with opening the property to the public. Where a building opens to the public for a number of weekdays but is closed to the public on Saturdays this often indicates use on Saturdays for weddings. However, some properties in this class will be full corporate entertainment venues.

Catering may be provided in house by staff employed by the proprietor but more often will be provided by a separate catering company employed by the hirer of the premises. The caterer may be from an “approved list” provided by the proprietor of the premises.

2. List Description & Special Category Code

List Description:

Wedding Venue and Premises or,

Function Venue and Premises or,

Wedding and Function Venue and Premises

Primary Description Code: CX

SCAT code: 075, suffix S/G

3. Responsible Teams

This is a split class of property with the Specialists in each Business Unit valuing the more complex and larger properties.

However, where the hereditament comprises a large historic property it must be dealt with by the Unit Specialist valuers and consideration given to whether the hereditament would be more correctly valued as an Historic Property with reference made to Rating Manual Section 6: Part 3 Section 1000:

Primary Description Code: LX

Special Category Code 265, suffix S.

4. Co-ordination

The Historic Properties Class Co-ordination Team has overall responsibility for the co-ordination of this class. The team are responsible for the approach to and accuracy and consistency of valuations. The team will deliver a Practice Note describing the valuation basis for revaluation and provide advice as necessary during the life of the rating lists. Caseworkers and referencers have a responsibility to:

  • follow the advice given at all times

  • not depart from the guidance given on appeals or maintenance work, without approval from the co-ordination team

•seek advice from the co-ordination team before starting on any new work

Responsibility for effective co-ordination within each Unit lies with the Unit Specialists.

5.1 Statutory background

Some properties in this class are occupied in conjunction with residential accommodation. The circumstances where they may fall wholly within the definition of domestic property (LGFA 1988 section 66) will be rare and such properties will invariably be rateable as composite hereditaments.

Where there is short-stay accommodation, which includes hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments, it will be rateable by virtue of Section 66(2) Local Government Finance Act 1988 [LGFA 1988].

5.2 Composite Properties

Where civil weddings take place the existence of a licence would be firm evidence of non-domestic use and is unlikely in the vast majority of circumstances to be de minimis. It is likely corporate use would also, in most situations, be more than de minimis. Whilst each case must be determined on its own merits, in deciding whether the use of a domestic property for non-domestic purposes is material, the VO will need to have regard to the effect of the extent, frequency and intensity of the non-domestic use and to any modifications made to the property to accommodate that use.

The hereditament will be a composite one unless the circumstances of occupation suggest that it is wholly non-domestic. Regard should be had to RM: S3 Part 1 (Occupancy and the Hereditament) and RM: S3 Part 5 (Composite Hereditaments).

5.3 Civil Licence

The Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005 and the Amendment Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/2661) are regulated by local authorities and allow marriages to take place in a variety of premises including hotels, stately homes, civic halls and similar premises.

The premises must be readily identifiable and comprise permanent immovable structures which preclude marriages from taking place in the open air, in a tent, marquee or any other temporary structure and in most forms of transport. In considering premises for approval, the local authority will have regard to their primary use, situation, construction and state of repair. The authority must consider the premises to be a seemly and dignified venue for the solemnisation of marriages or the formation of civil partnerships. The premises must be regularly available to the public for marriage ceremonies.

The room(s) in which ceremonies of marriage will be solemnised must be identifiable by description as a distinct part of the premises and be separate from any other activity on the premises at the time of the ceremony. Many local authorities require there to be a separate room available on the premises for pre-marriage questioning by the Registrar. The solemnisation of marriages or the formation of civil partnerships must be in approved premises where public access to proceedings is permitted without charge to enable the public access to witness a marriage and make objections prior to, or during, the ceremony.

A more modest private house is unlikely to be an appropriate venue, as it would not be known to the public as a marriage venue or regularly available for that use.

Since 2011 religious bodies in England and Wales have had the right to register civil partnerships as well as religious weddings, should they wish to do so. However, the Anglican Church has no plans to avail itself of these provisions.

Details of approved premises are held for public inspection by local authorities.

5.4 Liquor Licence, catering and functions

Following the coming into effect of the Licensing Act 2003 on 24 November 2005, in order to sell alcohol the premises will need a “Premises Licence”. There will also need to be a “Designated Premises Supervisor” (DPS) who will be named on the premises licence and who will require a “Personal Licence” under the Act. In addition to the sale of alcohol the licence may cover any provision of regulated entertainment (which includes the playing of recorded music and live bands {except bands playing at weddings}) and provision of late night refreshment. In addition any establishment, licensed or not, may apply for up to 12 Temporary Events Notices (TEN) during a calendar year – this will cover marquees for wedding receptions, or other functions, among other purposes. If it is intended for alcohol to be sold the application for the TEN must be made by a personal licence holder.

5.5 Fire Safety

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, SI2005/1541 introduced a new regime for fire safety replacing a raft of earlier regulation. Fire authorities no longer issue fire certificates. The order covers virtually all premises except private houses and flats. It applies to all places of assembly (including marquees and tents) and guest accommodation properties, such as bed and breakfast accommodation. Under the Order a responsible person who has control of the premises must carry out a fire-risk assessment of the premises. The assessment should identify fire hazards and people at risk, evaluate and remove or reduce risk from fire and provide general fire precautions to deal with any possible risk left. Findings must be recorded and an emergency plan prepared and regularly reviewed.

6. Survey Requirements

Wedding and Function Venues should be measured to Net Internal Area (NIA) in accordance with the VOA Code of Measuring Practice for Rating Purposes.

The survey should include the following information:

  • type of premises its location and age;

  • the size and capacity of rooms used for functions;

  • number of letting bedrooms (including type of room, e.g. double, family, single, whether en-suite or not) construction, services (including heating), the date when last refurbished;

  • type, extent and quality of ancillary facilities (areas for these should be separately shown) such as details of WC facilities, the use of temporary marquees for wedding receptions and other functions, car parking;

  • a note of the intensity of use should also be made including numbers of functions and whether catering is carried out in-house, by external caterers, or by the hirers themselves;

  • where the hereditament is composite details of any domestic use of the non-domestic parts should be recorded. A note should also be made of any non-domestic use other than functions, e.g. grounds being used for events, bedrooms being used as B & B accommodation, self-catering accommodation etc.;

  • details of the licence permitting weddings and civil partnerships should also be obtained including details of the rooms so licensed;

  • any brochures for the property should be collected;

  • details of any planning consent for use as a venue should be obtained;

  • details of any “Premises Licence” (see Para 5.4 above) should be obtained including the premises covered, e.g. whether the garden is included, the licensable activities permitted, the operating schedule and particulars of any conditions attached to the licence;

  • the numbers and purpose of any TEN application should also be ascertained.

Many properties used as wedding, civil ceremony and/or function venue will hold only small numbers of events each year and so will not require planning consent. Where planning consent has been granted it will often be as a C1, hotel user; in many of these the use of the property as a fully functional hotel will not be possible since the kitchen and other ancillary facilities will be physically still of a “domestic” nature. It will be found that many of the smaller sites are used as a venue only, with all bars and catering brought onto the site as required.

7. Survey Capture

In all cases plans and surveys should be stored in the property folder of the Electronic Document Records Management (EDRM) system.

8. Valuation approach

8.1 Rental Method

Where available, reliable AVD rental evidence should form the basis of valuation although it may be necessary to cast the net wide to gather this.

If possible, the adjusted rent should be tested against a receipts and expenditure valuation, and the resultant valuation expressed in terms of a percentage of gross takings from all sources (GTAS) excluding VAT. Such analysis can be used as a further basis of comparison but percentages may vary according to the facilities and level of service provided by the rateable occupier.

8.2 Receipts and Expenditure (R&E)

Where VOs are able to discern that the desire to trade profitably is the prime motive of occupation then a valuation based on the AVD accounts is likely to be the best starting point. Full copies of audited accounts for at least 3 years prior to the date of valuation should be requested. Guidance as to the analysis of accounts is provided in RM : S4 Part 2

Where accounts are made available, a full receipts and expenditure valuation should be undertaken, particularly where there is insufficient rental evidence. As with other forms of valuation, it is necessary to “stand back and look” at the final figure and consider whether, in all the circumstances, it correctly shows the rent which would be likely to paid under the statutory terms.

Where full accounts are not available valuations should be as a percentage of Gross Receipts (net of VAT). The appropriate yield should ideally be taken from local rental evidence but further guidance is provided in the relevant Practice Note.

8.3 Composite Properties occupied by the owner

Many properties will be composite hereditaments where the house (Stately Home, Historic House or large country house) is used both as domestic property and as a function/wedding venue.

The motivation in many such cases will be to make a profit to set against the overall running costs of the house. Therefore, the trading position of the non-domestic use provides the best guide to rateable value.

Regard should only be had to income that can be associated with the non-domestic use of the hereditament. The income may include:

*fees for hiring the venue,

*catering income and liquor sales,

*income from other corporate activities, providing such use has not been separately assessed,

*bed and breakfast income.

In line with the treatment of income, regard should only be had to expenditure that can be associated with the non-domestic use of the hereditament. Where the hereditament is primarily a home, as a general rule, any expenditure that would still be incurred in the absence of the non-domestic use should be treated as associated with the domestic use and ignored when considering the value of the non-domestic part. However, where a clearly defined part of the property is primarily in non-domestic use then expenditure on that part may need to be apportioned between the domestic and non-domestic use.

Further guidance on privately run composite historic properties can be found in Rating Manual: section 6 part 3 - section 1000 (Historic Properties) para 8.2. Section 1000: Historic properties

9. Valuation Support

All valuations should be entered onto the Non-Bulk Server (NBS) under the relevant Scat Code. The input of factual data on the NBS will enable valuations to be carried out which follow the recommended valuation approach.

Additional support is available through:

  • Survaid.

  • Class Co-ordination Team for Historic Property.

Practice Note 1: 2017 : Civil Ceremony, Wedding and Function Venues

1. Market Appraisal

Since 2008 there has been continued growth in the numbers of properties providing a function venue particularly for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies. Sometimes there may be, in addition, conference type use during the mid-week period. Additionally, more venues are now offering accommodation, usually on a bed and breakfast basis, as part of their package.

The growth in the number of venues offering wedding facilities may have resulted in saturation point being reached in some areas causing the numbers of weddings held at some venues to decline in light of the increased competition.

2. Changes from the last Practice note

There are no changes from the broad principles followed for the 2010 Rating Lists and the approach therefore is the same.

3.Ratepayer Discussions

There have been no 2017 List discussions on this class of property.

4. Valuation Scheme

The valuation for wedding, civil ceremony and function venues under Scat Code 075 will usually be based on a percentage of gross receipts from all sources (including any B & B accommodation) excluding VAT as at the AVD but reflecting the physical circumstances at the material day.

Where the hereditament is an historic property, or similar large period house, this percentage will be in the range of 4% -10% where a fully staffed catering and beverage service is provided by the operator (the lower rates being applicable where a high level of service and/or high maintenance costs are incurred e.g. for a Grade I or Grade II* listed property) and 8-15% for those providing little more than the venue (the higher rates apply where there is high use and little, if any, service provided by the operator).

For converted barns and similar properties where there are few services provided other than the venue and where outgoings on repair and maintenance are relatively lower the percentage range may be widened to 20%. This may be further increased where there is intense use.

Where available, regard should be had to any reliable AVD local rental evidence.

Any property which is commercially viable and where reliable relevant accounts data is available may have the resultant RV checked and considered by reference to a full receipts and expenditure valuation.

For historic properties open to the public that are also used as a function/wedding venue then regard must also be had to RM : Section 6 : S1000.

4.1 Valuation Considerations

It is not sufficient merely to take account of the total accommodation. Amongst other things, consideration should be given to the following points concerning the accommodation, all of which may have a bearing on value particularly where the hereditament is used both as domestic property and as a wedding / function venue:

  • do the public rooms provide adequate facilities for guests?

  • are the kitchens suitable for the business carried out?

  • are the WC facilities adequate for the number of guests?

  • is car parking available for guests either on the hereditament or close by?

  • are there any restrictions or conditions attached to the civil wedding / partnership licence or any Premises Licence?

Where the hereditament is composite, in certain very limited circumstances, consideration may need to be given to any non-domestic use being ‘de minimis’. In the very exceptional circumstances that the hereditament comprises a relatively small venue with no adaptations for wedding purposes, the use as a wedding venue is infrequent (probably 5 or less single dayweddings/functions a year), the licensed room(s) are regularly used by the family between weddings, all the catering is brought in, the number of guests at each wedding is restricted and no marquees are permitted or used, then the non-domestic use may be treated as ‘de minimis’ and no entry made in the local rating list.

Practice Note 1: Civil Ceremony, Wedding and Function Venues

1. Co-ordination Arrangements

Civil Airports are grouped into five categories, dependent on size and volume of traffic, with differing co-ordination procedures. Details of these categories are listed in Practice Note 1 : 1995 to this Section. The first four of these categories are listed on Appendices 1-4 of PN 1 : 1995. The remaining hereditaments can be identified by reference to Pooley’s Flight Guide a copy of which is held by all SRUs.

2. Major International and Regional Airports

2.1 This is a National Class with responsibilities for ensuring effective co-ordination lying with the National Specialist(s). For further information see Rating Manual section 6 part 1: Practice Note 1 : 2005.

The R2000 Special Category Code 059 should be used. As a National Class the appropriate suffix letter should be N.

2.2 On 28 January 2004, agreement was reached with the Airport User Group in respect of; the main areas of valuation approach; the costs for terminal buildings; and concrete costs for runways, taxiways and aprons. These costs are now included in the Rating Cost Guide 2005.

3. Minor Civil Airports

3.1 This is an SRU Class. Responsibility for ensuring effective co-ordination lies within the SRUs. For further information see Rating Manual section6 part 1: Practice Note 1 2005.

The R2005 Special Category Code 005 should be used. As an SRU Class the appropriate suffix letter should be S.

3.2 The guidance in PN 1 : 1995 : Appendix 5 should be followed except for the costs for Grass Airstrips which should be increased to 60p /sm for unimproved strips, to £1.80 /sm for improved and drained strips. The costs referred to at 2.2 may be used to the extent that they are relevant, but in most cases this will apply only to runway costs for PCN 10 and PCN 20

4. Airstrips

4.1 This is a Group Class. Co-ordination responsibilities are set out in Rating Manual - section 6 part 1: practice note 1 2005.

The R2005 Special Category Code 006 should be used. As a Group Class the appropriate suffix letter should be G.

4.2 The guidance in PN 1 : 1995 : Appendix 5 should be followed except for the costs for Grass Airstrips which should be increased to 60p /sm for unimproved strips, to £1.80 /sm for improved and drained strips.

5. Private Airstrips

5.1 Co-ordination arrangements are the same as for Airstrips see paragraph 4.

5.2 The guidance in PN 1 : 1995 : Appendix 5 should be followed except for the costs for Grass Airstrips which should be increased to 60p /sm for unimproved strips, to £1.80 /sm for improved and drained strips.

6. Heliports and Helipads (stand alone sites only)

This is a SRU class. Responsibility for ensuring effective co-ordination lies within the SRU’s. For further information see Rating Manual section 6 part 1: practice note 2005.

The R2005 Special Category Code 126 should be used. As a SRU Class the appropriate suffix letter should be S.

7. Airstrips or Helicopter Landing Sites forming part of a larger hereditament

Co-ordination arrangements remain the same as for 1995 see PN 1 : 1995 para 1(E).

Practice Note 1: 2010 : Civil Ceremony, Wedding and Function Venues

1. Co-ordination Arrangements

This class is split between Groups and Specialist Rating Units, with SRUs dealing with those over £25,000 RV. Responsibility for effective co-ordination lies with the SRUs. SRUs may by arrangement with Groups deal with complex properties and listed houses that fall below the threshold, but this will be rare. Co-ordination responsibilities are set out in RM : S6: Pt 1

For R2010 Special Category Code 075 should be used. As a split class the appropriate suffix letter should either be G or S.

Where the property is a large historic property it will be dealt with by SRUs as an Historic Property, Special Category Code 265S, see RM : S6: Pt 3 - S1000.

2. Background Information

In recent years there has been considerable growth in the number of properties providing a function venue, principally for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies but there may also be conference use during the mid-week period. The properties are often substantial period country houses/stately homes but can also be converted properties e.g. barns and coach houses; the properties covered will also include period houses where the main function space is a marquee in the grounds. The main use is the provision of a function venue; any bed and breakfast rooms provided are usually ancillary to this use. The use as a function venue may be coupled with opening to the public (where a building opens to the public for a number of weekdays but is closed to the public on Saturdays this often indicates use on Saturdays for weddings) but some will be full corporate entertainment venues.

The catering may be provided in house by staff employed by the proprietor but more often will be provided by a separate catering company employed by the hirer of the premises. The caterer may be from a list provided by the proprietor of the premises.

3. Valuation

The valuation for venues under Scat Code 075 will usually be based on a percentage of gross receipts (including any B & B accommodation). Where the hereditament is an historic property or similar large period house this will be in the range of 4% -10% where a fully staffed catering and beverage service is provided (the lower rates where a high level of service and/or high maintenance costs) and 8-15% for those providing little more than the venue (the higher rates where there is high use and little if any service). For converted barns and similar properties where there are few services provided other than the venue and where outgoings on repair and maintenance are relatively lower this percentage range may be widened to 20%. This may be further increased where there is intense use. Where available, regard should be had to local rental evidence. For historic properties open to the public that are also used as a function venue regard should also be had to RM : S6: Pt 3 - S1000.

All new properties in Groups in this class should be referred to the Group specialist, after referencing, for valuation and liaison with other Groups and SRU.

4. IT Support

The development of a new facility on the Non Bulk Server (NBS) will enable input of factual data to achieve valuations that follow the recommended approach for wedding and function venues. All valuations should be entered onto the NBS under the relevant Scat Code.