Our friend Andrew Bacon MRICS, has advised us of a recent Win in the High Court (Lands Tribunal)
In Short the Law has changed this August, to make it even more important to be professionally represented in a Rates Appeal.
Clearly the Valuation Office has been loosing a lot of appeals recently, and so they have changed the Law.
This is clearly wrong, and more evidence if any were needed, of the public sectors attitude towards business.
“Bit of breaking news for you.
The Government has slipped in a proposed change to business rates law.
Now, if you win and prove a reduction, you only get your money back if you can prove that the VO have been negligent i.e. not demonstrated Reasonable Professional Judgement.
So an unrepresented businessman would make an appeal, pay his £300 ( as they are introducing fees to appeal now) and go to Tribunal.
He proves a reduction in rateable value from, say, £30,000 to £25,000, which should mean he gets back £12,500.
But VO goes, ah, but £30,000 is close enough to £25,000 to be within reasonable professional judgement and because I am a Surveyor, and you are not, I know a lot about these things.
Businessman goes, er, ehmm. Sorry mate I don’t have any knowledge of that. A Tribunal agrees with the VO.
Businessman has to pay the inflated rates and his costs.
This change was slipped in to a consultation document released in August and not been mentioned previously.
Since the last consultation period, though, the VO has been losing all of the contentious rating appeals it had been slow pedalling and the Government has already seen the new 2017 rateable values that are to be published online in October.
Andrew Bacon Bsc(Hons) MRICS APAEWE Director JMA Chartered SurveyorsVictory House13 Nelson StreetSouthend SS1 1EF Tel 0207 663 5668Fax 0207 663 5768
In Summary, you go to a tribunal, expecting fair play. You even pay for the privelege, only to find that the deck is stacked against you. These are the types of behaviour we need to get away from in a Post Brexit world.
Incidentally there is a lot more to this story that we dont feel comfortable printing.
If you want to check on your rates, and new listings for 2017 are about to be published, then call Andrew on the numbers above.