Equestrian Centre (Non Domestic Valuation practice notes)

Part of: Non Domestic Valuation practice notes (NI Reval2023)

These Practice Notes were developed for the purpose of revaluing non domestic property in Northern Ireland as part of Reval2023. They were produced primarily as guidance for LPS Valuers to ensure, amongst other things, consistency of approach and practice in rating valuations.


The scope of this Practice Note is solely to ensure a consistent valuation approach for this Property Class / Subclass / Type for Non Domestic Revaluation 2023 and subsequent entry in the new Valuation List which becomes effective on 1 April 2023.

The basis of valuation for new entries in the Valuation List, and Rating Revision cases after 1 April 2023, is Schedule 12 (2)(1) of the Rates (NI) Order 1977.                                          


This Practice Note refers to property classified as:

Class: Commercial Unclassified
Sub Class: Equestrian Establishment
Type: Training Yard/Stables, Riding Centre, Livery Stables, Stud Farm

Equestrian Establishments range from small scale operations in converted farm buildings to larger purpose built stables, indoor and indoor arenas and occasionally, cross country courses or gallops.

Livery Stables

Livery stables offer facilities for owners to stable horses with the following options:

  • Full livery - The centre staff undertake all care of the horse that is stabled, often exercising or even competing the horse on behalf of the owner(s). This is normally the most expensive option.
  • Part livery - The horse is normally fed, watered and the stall or loose box is cleaned on behalf of the owner. The horse is not trained or exercised by the stable operator.
  • Do it yourself or DIY livery - A field or paddock and a stable are normally provided. The horse owner undertakes all care of the horse and provides all hay, feed and bedding. This is usually the least expensive option.

Riding Centres

These centres offer a wide range of equestrian activities to include tuition, livery, and schooling. These establishments will also contain a variety of other buildings to include indoor arena(s), welfare facilities, offices etc.

This classification also incorporates trekking centres.

Training Yard/ Stables

These range from stabling only, to a combination of stables and indoor or outdoor ménages. They are differentiated from riding centres by their lack of public tuition.

Stud Farms

A stud farm is an establishment for the selective breeding of horses.

Legislative Background

Schedule 12 Part 1 Paragraph 1 of the Rates (NI) Order 1977 applies.

“Subject to the provisions of this Schedule, for the purposes of this Order the Net Annual Value of a hereditament shall be the rent for which, one year with another, the hereditament might, in its actual state, be reasonably expected to let from year to year, the probable average annual costs of repairs, insurance and other expenses (if any) necessary to maintain the hereditament in its actual state, and all rates, taxes or public charges (if any), being paid by the tenant”.

The primary legislation governing the operation of equestrian establishments is the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 1972 which defines a riding establishment as “any premises where horses are kept for the purpose of their being let out on hire for riding or their being used in providing, in return for payment, instruction in riding”. The subordinate legislation is the Riding Establishments Regulations (NI) 1980. It is under this provision that the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) grant licenses for riding establishments to operate. However, there is currently no licensing requirement for livery stables, competition yards or stud farms.

Valuation Approach for 2023

The Comparative method of valuation is to be retained as the approach for this type of hereditament.

Rateable Plant and Machinery should be valued by reference to the Reval2023 LPS Cost Guide.

Agricultural Use

Equestrian establishments covered by this Practice Note do not fall under the definition of agricultural buildings as per Schedule 1 of the Rates (Northern Ireland) Order 1977. However, given that many of these establishments are shared with agricultural holdings, consideration should be given to establish the use of all land and buildings before concluding whether or not they should be considered to be agricultural.

The House of Lords decision in Hemens (VO) .v. Whitsbury Farm and Stud Ltd (1988 RA 277HL) “Held that horses and ponies, other than those used for farming the land or reared for food, are not “livestock” within the definition of Section 1(3) Rating Act 1971 which has since been re-enacted in Paragraph 8(5), Schedule 5 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.” [Source: Rating Valuation Principles & Practice, Patrick Bond/Peter Brown, EG Books]. This principle is applicable in Northern Ireland under Schedule 1(3) of the Rates (NI) Order 1977. Consequently any stables used for riding and ancillary buildings are not “agricultural buildings”.

Mixed Hereditament

Equestrian facilities occupied together with a dwelling and used wholly for personal recreation may be treated as domestic for rating purposes, provided these buildings are within the same curtilage as the dwelling house.

A consideration of the planning permission may assist in deciding whether or not the stables may be treated as appurtenant to the domestic property.

There will be situations where an apportionment between domestic and non-domestic uses under Paragraph 16 Part 1 of Schedule 12 of the Rates (NI) Order 1977 is applicable. In such circumstances guidance should be sought from the decision made in the Lands Tribunal case of Moy Riding School v The Commissioner of Valuation (VR/28/2000 and VR/30/2000).

Note – an equestrian facility cannot be valued as being Domestic, if it is not held as being contiguous with the dwelling.

Relief under Article 31 Rates (NI) Order 1977

Where the hereditament is occupied by an amateur club for the purposes of a prescribed recreation, consideration should be given as to whether it qualifies for relief under Article 31 of the Rates (NI) Order 1977.

Exemption under Article 41(2) (c) of the Rates (Northern Ireland) Order 1977

Equestrian establishments can be occupied by charities and used for charitable purposes, for example, Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA). Consideration for Exemption may be considered where appropriate.                                                     

Rent and Lease Questionnaire

For this class of property Rent and Lease Questionnaires (RALQs) were issued by the Practice Note author.


For advice on any aspect of this Practice Note contact LPS on 0300 200 7801.

More useful links

Related articles

Back to top