New commercial property valuations released today (30 September) by the Government’s Valuation Office Agency (VOA) have confirmed both rises and falls in the rateable values of commercial properties across the UK, with Yorkshire businesses broadly seeing a drop in the rateable value of their premises.
The figures are the VOA’s official estimate of April 2015 rental values, based on information provided by occupiers or by site visits. Local authorities take the rateable value of each property and use a formula, set by the Government, to calculate new business rates bills which will come into force from April 2017.
“While rents in many Yorkshire towns have decreased since the last time rateable values were calculated seven years ago, there’s an urgent need for businesses to scrutinise the VOA’s new assessment of their property’s rateable value,” said Craig Newton, who heads the rating team at property consultant Eddisons
“If there appears to be any anomalies, such as the stated floorspace of the property being too large, then it’s important to act quickly to rectify matters with the VOA.”
The Government has introduced a new three-step ‘check, challenge, appeal’ process via which businesses can contest the rateable values they have been allocated. “That may sound like an efficient and sensible enough approach,” said Mr Newton, “but the fly in the ointment is the chronic underfunding and understaffing of the VOA , which already has an estimated backlog of between 200,000 and 300,000 appeals to deal with, submitted by businesses against the 2010 Rating List.”
He added: “With such an enormous volume of outstanding cases it’s clear that appeals against 2017 rateable values are highly unlikely to receive priority treatment. With this in mind, the best advice – if you think the rateable value you have been issued for your property is too high – is to engage in dialogue with the VOA as rapidly as possible.
“Do seek professional advice on this though as attempting to deal with such an impenetrable and bureaucratic organisation as the VOA is definitely not for the faint hearted. A ratings expert will be able to start the process of making representations on your behalf, which may enable the matter to be resolved without becoming a full-blown appeal, saving both time and expense for your business