Will Lawther, Head of Rating Services at Keningtons LLP: a specialist recommended by FindaLondonOffice
Do I need to pay my rates bill?
Yes, it’s a tax payable by occupiers of nearly all commercial property types and contributes towards some of the costs of Local Authority services. These rates bills are based on the Rateable Value (RV) of a property, and are revalued every 5 years by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
What is a Rateable Value?
Put simply, a RV is an estimate of what the property would rent for on the open market as of the Antecedent Valuation Date (AVD) assuming the tenant insures the premises and carries out their repairing obligations.
What is the AVD?
A valuation date usually set 2 years before the revaluation, so, for the 2010 Rates Revaluation, the AVD is 1st April 2008.
How is the Rateable Value Determined?
The VOA collects rental evidence close to AVD together with other information to determine the RV of a particular property. These RVs are passed to the Local Authority and they issue the appropriate rates bills. However, these RV assessments can often be inaccurate and can be challenged.
How are these bills Calculated?
The RV is multiplied by the Uniform Business Rate (UBR) set by the Government each year. Transitional Relief as well as Business Rate Supplements, like Crossrail, are also taken into account. Rates bills can be very complex and it’s vital expert rating advice is sought at the earliest opportunity to check they are correct – this could result in substantial savings.
Are appeals easy to lodge?
Yes, but a lot of research and investigation must be undertaken prior to doing this, as remember, RVs can go up as well as down! A rating advisor will assess your individual case before lodging an appeal ensuring the best chance of success.
How your rating advisor can help
- When acquiring new office space, they can check the rates payable for each of your office options.
- Provide estimated 5-year rates payable breakdowns for each option – to compare the relative costs.
- Appeal your existing office, if appropriate, prior to you vacating – savings are backdated.
- Advise on appealing your new property.
- Negotiate directly with the VOA on a ‘No Saving No Fee’ Basis.
- Advise on other rating matters – rates mitigation on long-term empty property, building works and unused space in your office.
For further information contact Will Lawther, Head of Rating Services at Keningtons LLP – email@example.com