Rapleys’ Automotive & Roadside team have been very active in East Anglia with support from the recently opened Cambridge office. In the attached newsletter are some examples of recent automotive instructions – you can also click here.

The team can advise on the full spectrum of property services on a confidential basis. For full details of all available properties click here.

 

Property and planning consultancy Rapleys announces the launch of a new office in Cambridge. The new office is Rapleys’ second in Cambridgeshire, with the firm being founded in Huntingdon and maintaining a strong presence and heritage in region since 1951.

The Cambridge office consists of both professional advisory and transactional teams from across Rapleys’ service lines, delivering a joined-up, multi-disciplinary offering to clients in the region. Each team consists of professionals who live and work in the city, with strong established relationships across Cambridge’s range of complementary consultancy services.

Stuart Harris has been appointed Head of the Cambridge office, and joins Rapleys with more than 30 years’ experience working in the industry and region, including roles with Strutt & Parker and Carter Jonas.

Stuart, alongside the existing partnership, will be responsible for promoting and coordinating the delivery of the firm’s core property consultancy and town planning services in the city, including: Town Planning, Building Consultancy, Development, Affordable Housing & Viability, Commercial Agency, Landlord & Tenant and Investment.

Robert Clarke, Senior Partner at Rapleys, commented: “Our new Cambridge office, alongside the appointment of Stuart, represents a key further stage in Rapleys’ evolution, which builds on our long-established heritage, presence and reputation in the region going back to the founding of the firm in Huntingdon in 1951. We saw a real opportunity in Cambridge, which is undergoing substantial growth, and a market opening where we can bring in services – such as Affordable Housing and Viability, Strategic Land, Building Consultancy and Town Planning – which are currently underrepresented in the region or are subject to increasing demand. At the same time, our expanded footprint and capacity in the region further complements our national expansion programme – providing clients access to partner-led teams with both local expertise and UK-wide reach.”

Stuart Harris, Head of the Cambridge Office at Rapleys, added: “Principally I am delighted to join Rapleys at this exciting juncture. There are significant opportunities in Cambridge, which is rapidly increasing in commercial importance and is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. This looks set to continue – not least driven by the wider strategic plan for the region including the Cambridge-Oxford arc and expressway – and we are seeing an increasing demand particularly for planning and consulting services from businesses seeking to capitalise on this growth. I look forward to working with the wider Rapleys team to help clients seize these opportunities.”

Rapleys’ Cambridge team can be contacted at 20 Station Road, Cambridge CB1 2JD / 0370 777 6292.

In the Budget Statement on 22 November the Chancellor announced “Retail Relief” but there were no specific details of the type of property that would be included in the scheme.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has recently issued a retail discount – guidance note and it was thought to be important to make clients aware of the guidance note which can be accessed here.

The relief will apply to properties for the 2019/2020 & 2020/2021 rate years with a Rateable Value of less than £51,000 and which meet the following requirements as detailed in the guidance note:

We consider shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments to mean:

1. Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public:

  • Shops (such as: florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licences, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets, etc)
  • Charity shops
  • Opticians
  • Post offices
  • Furnishing shops/ display rooms (such as: carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
  • Car/ caravan show rooms
  • Second hand car lots
  • Markets
  • Petrol stations
  • Garden centres
  • Art galleries (where art is for sale/hire)

2. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

  • Hair and beauty services (such as: hair dressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops, etc)
  • Shoe repairs/ key cutting
  • Travel agents
  • Ticket offices e.g. for theatre
  • Dry cleaners
  • Launderettes
  • PC/ TV/ domestic appliance repair
  • Funeral directors
  • Photo processing
  • Tool hire
  • Car hire

3. Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public:

  • Restaurants
  • Takeaways
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Pubs
  • Bars

The guidance note also mentions that if a Rateable Value that was originally less than £51,000 is increased to that figure, or above, then the relief will stop from the date of increase.

The European Union State Aid De Minimis Regulations will apply so a business is only entitled to 200,000 Euros of State Aid in a three year period (the current financial year and the two previous financial years).

If the UK leaves the EU on 29th March then the guidance note mentions that the Government will transpose EU State Aid Rules into UK domestic legislation.

The list below sets out the types of uses that the Government does not consider to be retail use for the purpose of this relief.

Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

  • Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawn brokers)
  • Other services (e.g. estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies)
  • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractor
  • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers, tutors)
  • Post office sorting offices

Local authorities have to determine for themselves whether particular properties are broadly similar in nature to those above and, if so, to consider them not eligible for the relief under their local scheme.

For any help on your business rates please contact Alan Watson or Stacey Jolly.

 

Stacey has worked for Rapleys since 2001, starting out as an office administrator and working in various secretarial and administration roles within the company before starting work in the rating department in 2005.

Since then she has gained good knowledge of business rates and in 2008, decided to take the opportunity to further her career and undertook a distance learning course in Surveying Practices.

In 2010 Stacey was awarded her Diploma in Surveying Practices.

Her role now includes dealing with professional casework, such as appeal recommendations and negotiating rating appeals on behalf of our clients, as well as being head of administration for the department

Paul joined Rapleys in 1989 and has vast experience within property referencing. Paul is responsible for the referencing of a broad range of properties throughout the UK, from small shops through to substantial distribution centres. Paul also undertakes administration duties in the office including obtaining refunds for clients and maintaining computer based record systems for the rating department.

Previous to Rapleys, Paul worked at the Valuation Office in Peterborough for eight years.

 

We are now 12 months into the 2017 Rating List with the completely new Check, Challenge, Appeal system in place and the requirement to register and claim properties on the VOA web site.

In March and June 2017, I issued newsletters on these new processes and they are still very relevant. They can be viewed here: March & June.

Claiming properties and lodging Checks and Challenges are not easy and are much more time consuming than the old system.

An interesting statistic is that by 31 December 2017 only 12,840 ‘Checks’ had been made in England, when in the first 8 months following the commencement of the 2010 Rating List, something like 112,000 appeals had been lodged.

Chancellors Statement—March 2018

The Chancellor recently made announcements that will impact on Business Rates going forward.

‘Stairway tax’

This concerns the ‘Mazars’ Supreme Court decision, from March 2016, that resulted in thousands of rating assessments being split into separate rateable values where access is by communal lobbies, lift or stairways.

This decision is to be overturned by the Government and provided properties are contiguous or adjacent, and in one occupation, they can revert back to a single assessment and this will be allowed to go back into the 2010 Rating List.

The Communities Secretary introduced the legislation on 28 March.

‘Annual increase in the Rate in the Pound’

This has always been calculated using the Retail Price Index (RPI) figure for the September preceding the new rate year coming into force.

Going forward, this will be calculated using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and will reduce the anticipated increase for 2018/19 and rate years going forward.

CPI—September 2017—2.8%

RPI—September 2017—3.9%

This has resulted in a downward revision in the rate in the pound as follows:

Small multiplierLarge multiplier
(RV over £51,000)
RPICPI (confirmed)RPICPI (confirmed)
England48.4p48.0p49.7p49.3p
Scotland48.4p48.0p51.0p50.6p
Wales51.8p51.4p51.8p51.4p

 

City of London — for properties within the City of London a supplement of 0.5p in the pound is payable.

Crossrail — for properties in London with RV over £70,000 an extra 2p in the pound is payable.

A 1.1% reduction in the increases may not be huge, but every little helps!

‘Next Revaluation’

The Chancellor also announced that the next Revaluation in England will not be 2022, five years after the commencement of the current 2017 Revaluation.

It will be brought forward a year to April 2021 and thereafter each Revaluation will be 3 yearly.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that their next Revaluation will remain in 2022 but going forward will adopt a three year cycle with Revaluations in 2025, 2028 and so on.

The hope is that it will help keep Rateable Values more in line with changes in rental values across the country as a whole, although there had been no announcement as to the Revaluation cycle in Wales as yet.

For any help with Business Rates please contact Alan Watson.

Rapleys’ Automotive and Roadside team are active throughout the UK but with the opening of our Birmingham office in May 2016, our presence and activity has further strengthened in the West Midlands. We highlight here some of our recent successful transactions showing the range of work we undertake in the sector. 

Experience includes site acquisitions, project management, lease renewal, planning services and much more. We pride ourselves on providing an unmatched continuity of service and high level of expertise and knowledge to all, from an independent car dealer to a nationally represented client.

 

Alan has many years experience in dealing with rating valuations of all types of commercial property from both the public and private sector.

Alan has appeared before the Valuation Tribunal on many occasions, acting as Advocate and Expert Witness.

Having worked extensively on both sides of the rating fence, Alan has a thorough understanding of the complexities of rating and the various ways that clients’ rates liabilities can be minimised.

Alan joined Rapleys in 2006, having previously been a partner at Fuller Peiser and a director at Evans & Payne from 1989 until he left  in 2006.

 

The new arrangements for questioning Rateable Values under the ‘Check, Challenge & Appeal’ system only apply to properties in England, but will require ratepayers to get involved in a considerable amount of administration where they have a large number of English properties.

For how to register, see below:

STAGE ONE

  • Firstly, a business will have to register through the Government Gateway website: www.gateway.gov.uk
  • The business may already be registered and have an account but will need to obtain an Assistant or Administrator User ID and password.
  • If not already on the system, then register the business and move on to obtaining the Assistant or Administrator User ID and password.

STAGE TWO

  • This involves using the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website: www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates
  • On the VOA website, at the bottom of the first page where it says “Before you start”, click “SIGN IN”.
  • Enter your Government Gateway User ID and password from Stage One.
  • Complete the identity verification process for which you need to provide your NI Number, date of birth and details from one of the following:
    – A payslip
    – Your UK Passport number
    – A P60
  • Register your business
  • Manage Properties – This has to be done individually, property by property, and you will need to have a PDF of the current rate bill for every English property available, but then carry on as follows:
    – Click ‘Claim Property’
    – Search for the property using the Advanced Search – for our rating clients we are able to supply a spreadsheet which, once under ‘Claim Property’, you can click the link which will take you straight to the relevant hereditament
    – When you have identified it, click ‘Claim this property’ at the bottom of the page
    – Complete the details on the next screen detailing whether you are the owner or occupier and click ‘Add property’
    – Upload a copy of your rates bill – Under ‘Manage Properties’ click ‘Appoint agent’
    – Enter your agent’s code.
    Where Rapleys is instructed to act on your behalf, enter Rapleys’ Agent Code which is 39059
    – Click ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’

• Until the registration process is complete, agents cannot get involved with their clients’ properties.

For any help on registering your business, please contact Stacey Jolly – stacey.jolly@rapleys.com | 07714 133953 – or Alan Watson.

 

Property Week 17/03/2017

Philip Hammond may not have the same propensity for rabbit-conjuring as his predecessor did, but his approach to business rates does have a whiff of March hare madness about it.

Rapleys’ Nik Moore take a closer look at Hammonds’ decision in this week’s Property Week.

To read the full article click here.

The Revaluation comes into force on 1st April but the new rate bills for 2017/2018 will be coming out any time now, indeed some have already arrived.

There has been a huge amount of discussion in the press in the last few weeks because there are areas, particularly in London and the South East, where Rateable Values have increased considerably.

For certain areas there have been falls in Rateable Value, indeed government statistics suggest half of all ratepayers will see no increase or a fall in rate bills, 25% will see modest rises but the remaining 25% will see significant increases.

There is a “Transition System” that phases in the increases and decreases in liability. Unfortunately for those whose rate bills should be falling there will be very limited reductions because these are, effectively, funding the limitations on the increases.

Company Registration

The government will require business ratepayers and appointed agents to register on the government website. Agents will be given a special reference code once registered which the ratepayer must use to invite the agent to act on their behalf.

Property Registration

Although the system is not yet in place, the Valuation Office (VO) has stated that business ratepayers will also have to register their property portfolio on the government website.

At a recent meeting with the VO, Rapleys was told that properties have to be registered individually by the ratepayer and that they will not be able to drop them in from a spreadsheet for instance and furthermore, this cannot be undertaken by the ratepayers agent. Although various organisations, including Rapleys, have been pressing for a more sensible and practical way of doing this, the Government does not yet appear to have moved at all.

New Check, Challenge and Appeal system

The government and VO are determined to reduce the number of Business Rate appeals by introducing a more complex three stage system which also requires an appeal fee at the third stage.

Stage 1 – “Check”

This will involve checking all the facts on a property that the VO has within their records. For example, the floor area, whether the property has heating, air conditioning, raised floors, sprinklers or insulation etc.

If there is a disagreement with VO records then proof of the differences have to be submitted. If the VO agrees, or even partially agrees, then they will serve a notice to amend the assessment.

The VO has twelve months to respond to a “Check” and if nothing happens within twelve months the “Challenge” stage can commence.

If the VO does respond within 12 months and there is disagreement with the response, there is just four months available to lodge a “Challenge”.

It should also be mentioned that if someone “knowingly, needlessly or recklessly” supplies incorrect information there can be a £500 fine.

Stage 2 – “Challenge”

Here it will be necessary to submit in writing the reasons why one thinks the VO assessment is incorrect. This will involve providing rental evidence to support the case, such as evidence of other assessments of similar properties to the one in question.

The VO then has 18 months to respond and if they do not, the case can move onto Stage 3 – “Appeal”.

If the VO does reply and there is some disagreement with the response, again there is just four months to lodge an appeal.

Stage 3 – “Appeal”

This is an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal (VT) and involves a fee of either £150 for small businesses (less than 10 employees or a turnover of less than £2m per annum) and £300 for all other businesses.

If successful, the appeal fee will be refunded but it is not clear whether the appeal has to be wholly or partially successful.

Should the VO change their mind between the Challenge stage and the VT hearing and agreement is reached, then half the appeal fee will be refunded.

There was speculation of the government imposing an arbitrary minimum fixed percentage review of 15% which would have meant that if the VT did not believe the assessment was more than 15% out then the VT would not have been able to reduce the assessment at all.

However, common sense has prevailed with many agents and institutions insisting this was completely unfair. The VT will now be required to decide whether the existing assessment is a reasonable valuation. If the VT does not agree it is reasonable then they can provide a decision reducing the assessment. The decision is thankfully now back with the VT rather than limited by a grossly unfair government proposal.

Currently none of the legislation is yet in place but the general consensus is that most of what is detailed above will be coming into force shortly.

For any help with your business rates please contact Alan Watson.

 

SUPREME COURT DECISION: NEWBIGIN (VALUATION OFFICER)   – V –   S J & J MONK

Rapleys welcomes the recent Supreme Court Decision on a rating case which should beneficially affect anyone considering substantial construction or redevelopment works by drastically reducing their rate bill.

The property concerned in this case was the first floor of a three storey office building known as Avalon House, St Catherine’s Court, Sunderland Enterprise Park.

With effect from 6th January 2012, the first floor was stripped back to a shell with the removal of all internal elements except for the enclosure for the lift and staircase. The stripping out included the cooling system, internal and external plant, lighting and power installations, the fire alarm system, suspended ceiling, all sanitary fittings and drainage connections, timber joists and modular raised flooring, existing masonry walls and metal stud partitioning.

The Valuation Tribunal and the Court of Appeal made a judgement supporting the Valuation Officer’s view that the property should still be assessed as an office. However, the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) decision supported the ratepayer’s view that the property should be valued at nominal Rateable Value of £1 and this was agreed to be correct by a unanimous Supreme Court Decision.

The effect of the judgement should be that ratepayers do not need to pay Business Rates where the property is subject to significant building works.

The Supreme Court stated that the Valuation Officer must assess objectively whether a property is undergoing reconstruction and therefore incapable of beneficial occupation, rather than simply being in a state of disrepair.

The Court mentioned that a building under redevelopment, like a building under construction, is incapable of beneficial occupation and, therefore, should only have a nominal assessment of RV£1.

The Valuation Officer’s approach to this type of issue has stifled development, was grossly unfair and has restricted re-development works and investment in property redevelopment.

This significant decision should ensure developers do not have to pay Business Rates where a property is subject to extensive works, and will only help to encourage more investment in redevelopments.

The full judgment of the Court is the only authoritative document, and judgments are public documents available at: supremecourt.uk/decided-cases.

For any help with your business rates, please contact Alan Watson.

Commercial News Media 21/02/2017

Alan Watson, head of rating comments on the appeals process and the frustrations that many businesses are having with the new business rates.

To read the article in full click here.

Property Week: 2/12/2016

The overwhelming consensus on chancellor Philip Hammond’s first – and apparently last – Autumn Statement was one of frustration.

While some individual measures, including additional infrastructure spending aimed at unlocking housebuilding, were welcomed, most commentators felt that the chancellor failed to go far enough to meet businesses’ concerns.

Alan Watson, Rapleys Head of Rating, provides his comments within the article stating that despite the chancellor’s promise that his first and last Autumn Statement would be pro-business and pro-growth, once again businesses have been short-changed over rates.

Read the full Property Week article here.

 

The Chancellor presented the Autumn Statement on  Wednesday 23 November with some announcements impacting the property and development markets. Rapleys wraps up the key points below.

Planning
Despite including housing in one of the four key areas to be targeted by the £23bn of spending generated from the NPIF to 2021/22, the Statement failed to deliver a silver bullet for housing delivery. We will await the much anticipated Housing White Paper to deliver the detail.

The focus on investment in traditional and technological infrastructure is, however, welcomed. It is often these areas which act as ‘pinch points’ in themselves for both economic and residential development capacity. The commitment of £2.3bn investment in infrastructure to unlock potential for 100,00 new homes in areas of high demand, can only be welcomed as a fiscal aid to support viability. However, it’s questionable whether the proposed £23,000 per plot is an efficient approach.

Similarly, the support to increase affordable housing delivery is much needed but there was an absence of detail in how this will represent an effective approach in light of the 1m home target over the parliament, which is well short of its objective.

Of potential significance is the commitment to relax restrictions on government grants to allow providers to deliver a wider range of housing, which could translate into a stimulus in starter home delivery and Private Rented Sector accommodation.

However, it is the commitment to the balance of budget and investment, with focus on new infrastructure delivery to provide an environment to support economic and residential growth which will be the headline of the statement for the development industry, alongside the requirement for Local Councils to make tough decisions on the location of development.
Ben Read | 07747 757639

 

Housing
The Chancellor’s announcements in relation to the housing market appear to be shifting away from the previous Chancellor’s almost entire focus on home ownership, to a more balanced housing market. The RICS have reacted positively to the announcements on increased investment for affordable housing, particularly for affordable rent.

Alongside the £2.3bn to be spent on infrastructure, the government also committed to an additional £1.4bn to be spent on affordable housing, which is in addition to the £4.7bn that was previously announced. The money will help fund an additional 40,000affordable homes. The Government has also lifted the restrictions limiting the funding to homeownership products. This is a clear indication of a shift back towards a more balanced housing market to take into account the decline in home ownership and increasing importance of good quality rental stock.
Nick Fell | 07964 558697

 

Business Rates
For business rates, there were limited announcements from the Chancellor. The most revealing announcement was confirmation that rates bills will go up by a maximum of 43% year on year in 2017/18, and a further 32% the year after for those RVs over £100,000. These were pitched as a saving from 45% and 50% respectively, but these were figures out to consultation only and still represent increases more than 20 times the current rate of inflation—once again leaving businesses short changed.

He confirmed a previously announced scheme offering rate relief to the hard pressed Oil and Gas exploration sector, and a doubling of Rural Rate Relief to 100% from 50%. The announcement that new fibre optic broadband infrastructure will benefit from 100% relief for 5 years will benefit BT Openreach significantly, but very few others.
Alan Watson | 07917 352428

 

Business Space
The continued focus of the Autumn Statement on the development of housing indicates that the trend of existing office and industrial floorspace and land supply being lost to residential use is set to continue. The consequence will be growth in office and industrial land prices and a strong growth in rents.
Colin Steele | 07860 749034

 

Scotland
The key impact to the Scottish market will come via the City Deal funding announcement which will bring economic growth and development to infrastructure and strategic projects. A City Deal agreement for Edinburgh is confirmed, proposals from Perth and Dundee are being considered and talks will begin shortly on Stirling.

The Chancellor stating that every city in Scotland will be on course for a City Deal gives local areas greater powers and freedoms to help support economic growth, create jobs or invest in local projects.
Neil Gray | 07467 955228

 

Property Management
The Chancellor stated that insurance premium tax (standard rate) will increase from 10% to 12% which will see this type of tax doubling within 2 years. This will lead to additional expenditure on buildings insurance and we expect those with large property portfolios to be significantly hit.

The announced increase in the national living wage to £7.50 from April 2017 will also cause an impact to property management costs as it is highly likely that we will see contractors (receptionist, security, landscaping providers etc) passing this cost onto their customers meaning landlords and tenants should prepare themselves for increased service charge budgets and expenditure.

However, the Carbon Price Support will be capped to 2020 which should reduce the increase seen on energy bills for end consumers, helping reduce the expenditure seen on utilities.
Mark Coles | 07785 522956

Please contact a member of the team if you would like more information on the Autumn Statement and the impact it may have on your property or portfolio.

From previous newsletters you will be aware that the new Rateable Values are to be made available to the public at 8 am tomorrow morning, Friday 30th September.

However, until the Government announces the rate in the pound and details of the Transitional arrangements, which will phase in the increases or decreases in liability, rating agents will not be able to give clients accurate details of their rate liability.

This morning we were notified of a consultation on Transition which will last from 28th September to 26th October and means that the Actual Transitional Regulations will not be in place until November at the earliest and there is even a mention in the document that the Regulations have to be in force by the 1st January preceding the Revaluation, so it could be that late.

For your information we have included the link to the consultation document because there are some interesting statistics on the Valuation Office’s view on what is going to happen to the level of assessments in various parts of the country but also there is a major change proposed with regard to the Transition for properties with assessments above £100,000 RV.

Click here to view the consultation document.

A very interesting statistic is that the column that says “not in Transition” states that nearly a million properties are not in Transition in the first year and, that figure will go up every year as properties fall out of the Transitional arrangements.

Two options for Transition are mentioned but the Government’s preference is Option 2 and this potentially means that “large” properties, mainly in London and the South East where rental values have increased significantly, could see results in

rate liabilities increasing by 45% between this year and the new Rating year 2017/18. The following year it could go up by another 50% and so on, as you can see from Option 2 Transitional arrangements in the consultation document.

Option 2 has a similar effect on “Downward Cap” for the new list large properties, as the “phased” reductions from the 2010 List were slightly higher than those mentioned for the new list.

The Transition figures for what the Government is calling small and medium properties are exactly the same as for the current Rating List which only had two bands rather than the three now being proposed for the new list.

The numbers affected may not be huge but there will be significant changes in rate liability for the 49,800 properties mentioned in the large downward cap group and the 8,800 mentioned in the large upward cap group.

Until the Transitional arrangements are settled it is unlikely the Government will be able to announce the actual rate in the pound for next year which means providing the clients with accurate rate liabilities for 2017/18 is going to be very difficult, if not impossible.

One final point in the consultation document is in Point 1 which states “the Government will reduce the tax rate – known as the multiplier – to offset the overall change in rateable value” and yet when you look at the statistics immediately below, the vast majority of rate liabilities are expected to reduce as a result of the Revaluation, except in London. So is the rate in the pound really going to be reduced, or will it increase?

For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

The Revaluation comes into force on 1st April 2017 BUT the draft list figures are to be made available on 30th September by the Valuation Office Agency  – just three weeks away. However, until the government announces both the rate in the pound for 2017/2018 and the transitional arrangements, it will not be possible to calculate rate liability for the next rate year.

Any obvious discrepancies in the “new” rating assessment can be brought to the Valuation Office’s attention between the publication of the draft list and 31st March 2017.

The new assessments are based on the levels of rental value as at 1st April 2015, so any worries about property values as a result of the “Brexit” vote will be completely ignored.
A completely new system of examining the Valuation Office’s new figures is due to come into place which is as follows

1. Check – This requires factual survey information to be checked against the information used by the Valuation Office to produce the 2017 valuation. If no agreement can be reached the process moves to the next stage.
2. Challenge – This requires further supporting information and detailed evidence from the ratepayer along with a valuation based on the information provided. If this cannot be agreed the process moves to the formal appeal stage.
3. Appeal – This stage gives access to the Valuation Tribunal where for the first time, a fee will be payable to lodge the appeal.

How we can help
For existing and new rating clients, our services include the following:

  • We can identify all 2017 draft rating list rateable values
  • Provide budget forecasts for changing rates liability from 1st April 2017
  • Examine “new” assessments in order to notify the Valuation Office of any obvious errors
  • Provide factual and rental information in the correct format to avoid the possibility of misinterpretation and potential for increased liability
  • Undertake a portfolio review with appeal recommendations
  •  
    Why Rapleys
    Rapleys has provided specialist business rates advice for over 30 years and has successfully reduced clients’ operational costs over successive revaluations.

    Our clients benefit from  full UK coverage through our network of six offices including Scotland.

    We have a loyal client base which is testament to our friendly, practical and cost effective service, providing strategic advice to our clients.

    Our successes
    We are specialists in the business rates sector, saving our clients over £60m so far over the life of the 2010 rating list.

    Business rates were mentioned nine times in the Budget when the Chancellor kept saying “help for small businesses”.

    The fact is that none of the help comes into force until 1st April 2017 at the earliest.

    Small Business Rates Relief

    • The doubling of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) is already in force but currently has to be announced annually, however, from 1st April 2017 it will be a permanent relief.
    • A business with only one property with a rateable value below £12,000 or one with additional properties whose rateable values are all below £2,600 don’t pay any rates at all currently.
    • From 1st April 2017 that figure will rise to rateable value £15,000.

    Larger Businesses

    • Larger businesses currently pay for SBRR through the small business supplement which is a 1.3 pence addition to the rate in the pound for 2016/2017. In London this applies to businesses whose rateable value is
    • £25,000 and above and outside London £18,000 and above.
    • From 1st April 2017 these thresholds will be considerably increased to rateable value £51,000 and above so, for example, this will save those with a rateable value of £50,999 some £661.70 per annum – proportionally
    • less for those with a lower rateable value.

    Uniform Business Rates

    • Currently the Uniform Business Rate increases each year by Retail Price Index figure from the preceding October.
      This will change to the lower Consumer Price Index but not until 1st April 2020.

    Help for local newspapers

    • There will be a £1,500 business rates discount for office space occupied by local newspapers in England (a maximum of one discount per local newspaper and per hereditament) for two years from 1st April 2017.
    • However, it would seem the retail relief offered over the last two rate years has disappeared, which will greatly affect many small businesses.

    Public Lavatories

    • Good news if you own a public lavatory local authorities will be able to offer discretionary relief – I thought you all needed to know that.

    Retail Relief

    • The help for small businesses for 2016/2017 is, therefore, less than it was previously with there being no retail relief.

    2017 Revaluation

    • How these reliefs will affect a business’s rates bills is largely unknown because of the 2017 revaluation.
    • Until the draft rating list is published in October this year, a business has no idea what its rateable value is going to be from 1st April 2017.
    • No one knows what the rate in the pound on the small business supplement will be for 2017/2018.
    • There has been no mention yet of whether large increases or decreases in rate liability following the revaluation will be “phased” through a transitional relief scheme as they have over the last five revaluations. There was no such scheme in either Wales or Scotland following the 2010 Revaluation.

    The Autumn Statement Update 

    • In the Autumn Statement, it was announced that going forward cities with elected Mayors would be able to levy an infrastructure tax from 2020 and all billing authorities would be able to set their own rate in the pound.
    • However, yesterday the Chancellor announced that the Greater London Authority will move towards full retention of the business rates from 1st April 2017 – three years early and this could well impact on businesses with property in London

    It sounded good as the speech was made but in reality it is all 12 months away at a minimum and there are so many imponderables that it is impossible to calculate the effect

    Rate Bills
    A comment on the note from the Valuation Office Agency that is arriving with your rates bills.
    It asks businesses to register to receive details of your draft rateable values in October.
    If you have instructed Rapleys to look after your rates from 2017 onwards you do not need to bother with this. Rapleys will provide clients with a list of draft assessments and as soon as there is an announcement about the rate in the pound for 2017/2018 and whether there is to be any “phasing” in England, will also provide estimates of rate liability for 1st April 2017 onwards for rating clients.

    To view this as a PDF please click on the adjacent link.

    Following David Cameron’s recent announcement that businesses affected by flooding will get 100% business rates relief, Rapleys is offering to help anyone in need of assistance in England to get the appropriate relief, completely free of charge.

    The government’s plans, while short on detail, appear largely to be a re-announcement of the existing guidance that any business premises affected by flood damage which renders the premises incapable of occupation will qualify for 100% relief from business rates for a period up to three months from the date of the flood.

    In the event of flood damage being experienced, an application must be made immediately to the relevant local council.

    Rapleys is offering assistance free of charge to anyone in England who needs help in securing the relief on offer, and we would urge anybody who feels they might be entitled to a reduction to contact one of our team:

    Nik Moore
    07831 099095
    nrm@rapleys.co.uk

    Alan Watson
    07917 352428
    acw@rapleys.co.uk

    Mike Rose
    07599 285201
    jmr@rapleys.co.uk

    Stacey Jolly
    07714 133953
    scj@rapleys.co.uk