New listings create something of a perfect storm for ratepayers

LSH

1st October 2016

Property Portfolio

LSH

AFTER an interval of seven years, a new Rating List for non-domestic/commercial property will come into effect on 1 April 2017.

In advance of this, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will release details of the proposed rateable values on 30 September 2016. Given that the calculation of the rate charge is based upon rateable value, this event is significant and will provide ratepayers with an indication of their new rate liability from 1 April 2017.

In the lead up to the new list the government has failed again to give ratepayers the evidence used to calculate their new rateable value. It is also making it more difficult to challenge rateable values through appeal. This means that the new process is likely to be cumbersome and time consuming with an onus on the ratepayer to put forward their full and detailed case for a reduction at the outset, without full knowledge of all of the facts, that the VOA might hold.

Then, at the end of the appeal process, if an appeal cannot be agreed and a Tribunal hearing is required, Tribunals are being instructed to accept VOA valuations, provided that they are within a reasonable margin of tolerance. ?

In practice this means that the VOA will be permitted to withhold his valuation evidence from the ratepayer, the ratepayer or his agent will be restricted to their initial knowledge of the evidence, and valuations that are potentially wrong, but which are felt to be sufficiently close, will be regarded as being acceptable by the first tier of the judicial system.

At the same time, the government intends to permit local authorities to retain the proceeds of the tax, whilst encouraging them to become involved in the appeal process. It goes without saying that these councils will have an interest in maximising income, and can be expected to put pressure on the VOA to defend their new values as rigorously as possible. Going forward life can only be expected to get harder for the ratepayer.

At 46 per cent, Lambert Smith Hampton's appeal success rate against the 2010 Rating List is one of the highest in the UK and outperforms the industry average by more than 50 per cent.

If you would like advice as to how the 2017 revaluation might affect you, contact Graham Heilbuth on 01908 787503 or via email gheilbuth@lsh.co.uk 

LSH