Section 215: Pensions, kennels and catteries – Valuation manual section 6 part 3: valuation of all categories of goods – Guidance

6.1 Boarding schools, kennels and catteries should be measured against Gross Interior Area (GIA) taking into account the definitions contained in the VOA Code of Practice for Measurement for evaluation purposes.

6.2 To facilitate the recording of all the necessary factual information, an inspection guide and checklist have been created and stored in Annexes 1 and 2 of this section.

6.3 To facilitate potential future changes in data entry, the number of animal “pens” in addition to floor areas should be recorded.

Pricing rate

6.4 Boarding for animals, including kennels and catteries, is for non-domestic use and must be indicated in local assessment lists.

6.5 When inspecting these classes, special care should be taken with the following –

Taking each in turn –

Identification of the “evaluation unit”

6.6 Care should be taken to identify the correct taxable occupant, especially when facilities are shared between different companies. It is not uncommon for large animal boarding establishments to provide facilities such as gift shops and cafes. Other non-domestic uses may be present on the site, such as equestrian facilities or vacation homes. Details should be researched as to whether these constitute “rentals” and / or are operated on a separate basis.

Domestic / non-domestic limit

6.7 The occupants can claim that any building specially used within the framework of the activity is accessory to their dwelling house and that, therefore, these operations are not subject to non-domestic pricing. This argument must be firmly rejected. Boarding schools, kennels and commercially operated catteries are non-domestic use and should not be considered a domestic “addiction” under section 66 (1) (b) of the LGFA 1988.

6.8 Section 66 (1) (b) – which is covered in detail in the scoring manual, states that domestic property must qualify for –

it is a courtyard, garden, outbuilding or other outbuilding owned or valued with accommodation ”.

6.9 Residential schools, kennels and catteries are highly unlikely to meet these requirements. The argument that the main motivation is not to make a profit, but to support a related hobby or charity is irrelevant.

6.10 However, “domestic use” should be taken into account when animals belonging to the owners accommodation are interned in a housing dependency. Such dependence must be within the courtyard accommodation and must also pass, with the accommodation, under the same means of transport without further mention. See the decision of the President of the Land Court in Martin & Others v Hewitt (VO) 2003 RA 275, (The Windermere Boathouse Cases), for a further exploration of this point.

6.11 Consideration should also be given to the relative size of the accommodation and the size of the animal boarding / kennels and catteries usage and not the other way around.

6.12 However, boarding operations for animals occupied in conjunction with accommodation should not be regarded as outbuildings belonging to or valued with the accommodation. They are not domestic premises and should be treated as composite non-domestic real estate in the same way a store and apartment would be.

6.13 A review of the building permit can be helpful in deciding whether or not the animal boarding (including kennels, catteries and other relevant ancillary facilities) can be considered part of domestic property.

Agricultural exemption

6.14 Any argument that land or buildings fall under the agricultural exemption provisions of Annex 5 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (LGFA 1988) is misplaced and must be fought.

Section 2 (1) (a) defines “agricultural land” as:

“Land used as arable land, meadows or pasture only” (emphasis added)

In the vast majority of cases, animal boarding houses (including kennels and catteries) have land that is used as an enclosed run or for exercise and not as pasture. This clearly does not fall under the provisions of paragraph 2 (1) (a) and these areas should be included in the rating lists.

6.15 However, some large animal boarding operations may occupy “agricultural land” used for example for grazing horses or ponies and where this is the only use an exemption is likely to be appropriate for such land.

6.16 “Pastures” are land on which animals graze or feed on grasslands, not just exercise.

6.17 The issue of agricultural land is explored in more detail in section 6 of the assessment manual, part 6: part D: paragraph 4.4.

6.18 If there are any difficulties, the cases should be referred to the technical advisor.

Facilities offered

6.19 Kennels and catteries are generally a business providing facilities for owners to care for their cats or dogs while on vacation or away from home. They can offer some or all of the following: –

  • Accommodation in purpose-built kennels, or “chalets” – made of concrete blocks or wood, ideally with “anti-sneeze” barriers

  • Exercise tracks – open, closed or lattice construction on concrete or grass

  • Isolation facilities if necessary

  • Access to on-site veterinarian / first aid facilities

  • A register of animals currently in boarding

  • Feeding facilities

  • Parking – to drop off pets, and for customers and staff

  • Pet taxi service – for transportation to and from the facility

  • Storage – for personal items of animals; food, medicine, etc.

  • Desks)

  • Shop – sometimes a full shop selling food and accessories

  • Walking services

  • Grooming and clipping services

6.20 Kennels and catteries generally fall into three types or categories:

The best facility with brick / block kennels

Good accessory housing; may have a store to sell food and accessories

Relatively close to population centers

These will generally be the largest and most profitable operations.

The normal establishment “quite normal”

This can have kennel / cattery standards similar to Category A or be made of wood *

Usually smaller and unlikely to have a store

Maybe still in a good catchment area.

This category contains residues (those not listed in A and B above)

Include establishments with lower quality buildings, likely to be wood *, and those in poor catchment areas.

It will also include the small “hobby” type of operation.

  • Please note that modern timber structures finished to a high standard should be treated as of the same quality as permanent buildings.

Quality considerations

6.21 Reputation is a very important consideration for any kennel or cattery operator who wants to build a sustainable and successful business. This is because owners of cats and dogs have a natural “telegraph” system; they know each other and meet often, for example in the veterinary surgery, on a walk (the dog) or in the shops, etc.

6.22 The success of a business is not necessarily reflected in the quality of buildings.

6.23 However, the quality of a kennel or cattery can have an impact on its potential value. The following provides an indication of characteristics that can give insight into whether one kennel or cattery is better or worse than another:

Better features Poor features

* LARGE: Chalets (or kennels) 2m wide allowing ample space to stretch out * LUMINOUS: lots of natural light * FREEDOM: adjoining runway * LESS KENNELS: calm and quiet * HEATED: comfortable

* SMALL: kennels 1m wide, which are cramped * DARK: very little light * CONFINED: no adjoining run * LOTS OF TRACKS: noisy and stressful * UNHEATED: uncomfortable, potentially cold

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