Reduce Business Rates for an Auctioneer
We were approached by Gardiner Houlgate to reduce Business rates for them. The Valuation Office (VOA) assessed the property at rateable value £37,250. This on the face of it seemed fair and in line with others. However we noted as with other clients who ask for advice, that the premises had already been appealed once with no success! Another difficulty is that the rent did not help us as it was greater than the rateable value. Following an inspection, a number of inconsistencies were noted in the relativities used by the VOA. It is never a simple task and does require specialist experience to find these inconsistencies.
To reduce Business Rates your agent needs to be a good negotiator!
Using our knowledge and with excellent negotiation, it was possible to agree a 16.5% reduction. This took the rateable value from £37,250 to £31,250 thus saving our client over £11,880.
The reduced figure will also influence the Valuation Office in their assessment of the premises value for the Revaluation. This is due to take effect from the 1st April, 2017.

Review Of Business Rates For A Nursery School
Par Moor Pre School and Nursery
Par, Cornwall, PL24 2BQ
The Valuation Office (VO) assessed the property at rateable value £15,250 effective from 1st January 2014.
This was a new assessment based on a fixed rate of 340 sqm for porta cabins in Cornwall .
The VOA resisted all the way until the appeal was listed for Tribunal hearing at which point they agreed to a 20% reduction reducing the assessment to £12,250 which was confirmed by the Tribunal.
It is often the case that unless you push hard enough you will not succeed with a business rates appeal.
This has saved the client around £1,500 p.a and again will be the bench mark now for the revised assessment in 2017.

Successful Pub Appeal – Traditional Village Pub
A Traditional Country Pub Appeal White Hart Inn at Droitwich – Worcestershire village with three other nearby pubs. Saving of 10%- £15,400.

The factors for a pub appeal – The tied rent plus the trade figures did on paper support the existing assessment of £45,900 however in comparison with nearby pubs my feelings were that the pub had been assessed more on the success of the clients business rather than on ”The fair maintainable Trade” and in effect what the average licensee could achieve.

As expected, the Valuation office resisted all the way and in fact tried to bully us into withdrawing the appeal with the threat that if we pursued it they would argue for a higher figure of £53,000 at Tribunal.
This is in fact what they did as the appeal went to Tribunal Hearing with the VOA pushing for an increase.
However, the Tribunal accepted those points I had raised and reduced the assessment to £41,500 more in line with comparable pubs nearby.
Over the 7 years of the list, this will have saved the client over £15,000. In addition it will be the base figure to be used for the 2017 revaluation.

How To Turn A Natural Disaster Into A Saving
Temporary Rate Relief Explained
The British weather has taken its toll on many homes, causing untold damage and affecting the lives of their occupants. The same is true of many business owners having their premises affected by the floods. It is a tough time and there are many factors to think about when dealing with such a natural disaster. We are going to focus on business rates and how to make savings while we all suffer from the flood damage. Your Business Rates assessment is in simple terms an estimate of what the premises (shop, office, warehouse etc) might reasonably be expected to rent for, having regard to the physical circumstances existing on a given day. That day in most cases is the 1st April, 2010. However if physical changes occur after this date and it is reasonable to assume those changes would have a material effect on the rent someone would pay for your premises, then the rateable value should be adjusted to reflect this. In general, the changes we often see are permanent, such as a new extension or the demolition of part of the property, but what many people don’t realize is that temporary changes both negative and positive can also effect your rateable value! Common reasons for a temporary rate change would be road works which reduce the foot fall to your shop for a period of time, renovation /refurbishment of the premises, major building works nearby which make trading difficult or impossible and of course natural disasters such as flooding. It must be remembered that what the Valuation Office (The Government Department who assess your rates) are looking for is evidence that this temporary disability would effect the rent someone would pay for your premises.
The two key factors in any case are therefore:
  1. The severity of the disability
  2. The duration of the disability
If you have been affected by flooding either directly or indirectly then it is essential to act quickly and raise an appeal. This can be done online through the Valuation Office portal or through a knowledgeable agent who can maximise the saving. If you wait until the flooding subsides or the repair works are complete then you will weaken your case, as the date taken for assessing the impact of this disaster on your rates is the date the appeal is lodged (The Material day). In order therefore to maximise your chances of success the following key points should be remembered:
  1. Appeal at an early stage.
  2. Take photos to show the severity/extent of the damage.
  3. Keep a diary to show the duration of the disability and retain details of the costs of repairs.
  4. Keep details of how your trade has been affected. Ideally compared with the same period the year before.
There is no guarantee that you will be successful, but following these simple steps will help. We all need quite a bit of help in these difficult times. Best of Luck!

The Truth Behind The Cancellation Of The 2015 Business Rates Revaluation
The Government would like you to believe that the cancellation of the 2015 Business Rates revaluation was to help Business… regretfully that is far from the truth!
Due to the recession many businesses, particularly shops and industrial premises would have gained significantly from a Business Rates revaluation. This is because rental levels which determine your rateable value have plummeted between 2008 and 2013 (respective valuation dates), in some areas by as much as 50%!
The problem the Government faced was that they have to bring in the same amount of revenue whatever the rateable values are. If the rateable Value pie drops by 30% then the rate in the pound will need to rise by 30%.
This would have been extremely unpopular especially in areas such as the South East and London where rents have not fallen as much as other areas of the country. It would have resulted in these areas taking on a bigger slice of the Business Rates pie while other areas would have seen their liabilities fall.
You might be wondering, what is wrong with that?
Well most big business is concentrated in the South East and they have the ear of the Government, furthermore the South East is predominantly Conservative.

Business Rates in Bath – Correctly assessed?
Have your Business Rates in Bath been correctly assessed?
Business Rates represents a significant overhead to most companies, with the majority of businesses unaware that these figures can be challenged.
I am a Chartered Surveyor and Director in Whitestone Commercial, a niche practice specialising in Business Rates in Bath, Bristol and the South West. My expertise in this field has been gained through many years working as a Senior Valuer within the Valuation Office Agency, who assess Business Rates. We have been very successful in obtaining reductions for our clients with our fee simply based on a percentage of any saving we achieve for you.
Please give us a call for more information.