Changes in your locality that may affect your rateable value
Physical changes to your property or within your locality may have an impact on the rateable value of your property.
The rateable value is the Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) assessment of the open market rental value of your property at a set valuation date and is used by your local council to calculate your rates bill.
Physical changes to your property or within the locality are called a ‘material change of circumstance’ (MCC).
What is meant by locality
The definition of locality will depend on the nature of the change and the type of property you occupy. Usually, the locality is the immediate area around the property, however this can vary.
What is meant by a ‘material change of circumstance’ (MCC)
Examples of the type of change within the locality that may be an MCC include:
- road or streetworks which affect your property – closures; changes to road layout; pedestrianisation
- building work or demolition nearby or the erection of scaffolding on a neighbouring property
- damage to infrastructure caused by flooding
- an increase in the number of vacant properties in the vicinity
- opening of a new development within the locality eg a supermarket or retail park which competes directly with existing business properties
- a change in the use of another property in the locality
What is not an MCC
Economic factors, a fall in rent or trade due to recession, with no physical change having occurred to the property or its locality would not be an MCC.
Only the economic factors prevailing at the set valuation date for a rating list can be taken into account in calculating rateable value.
If you believe your property is affected by an MCC
You should contact the VOA with details of your property and the possible MCC. You should also provide any supporting evidence to support your view that the MCC affects your rateable value.
Examples of evidence may include:
- any change to your rental agreement which is a direct consequence of the physical change
- any change to the level of trade which is a direct consequence of the physical change
- other relevant information such as photographs of the work, scheme details and planning applications
If the MCC is temporary (for example roadworks restricting access to your property) you should contact the VOA as soon as the MCC starts and consider making an appeal whilst the work is on-going.
You can appeal online or the VOA can send you this form by post. See below for VOA contact details.
How the VOA decides
The VOA’s decision depends on the severity of the problem, its duration, and whether it would reduce the rental value of the property and, as a result, the rateable value.
When you disagree with the VOA’s decision
You have the right to appeal if you don’t agree with the VOA’s decision about the rateable value of your property.
If you decide to appeal, you should provide as much of the detail outlined above in the section ‘examples of evidence’ as possible. The more detail you can provide, the quicker the VOA is able to deal with your appeal.
The VOA will discuss the case with you and if you can’t reach an agreement then the appeal will be listed for hearing by the independent Valuation Tribunal.
After the disruption ends
Once the disruption ends, the rateable value will be reinstated, in most cases, to the original rateable value. You should be aware that if improvements have been made, it could be higher than the original rateable value.
You must report any changes to ensure you’re paying the right amount and so that you don’t get a backdated increase in your business rates bill.
Contact the VOA
Contact the VOA if you’re in England or Wales.
Telephone (England) 03000 501501
Telephone (Wales) 03000 505505
Opening hours: 8:30am to 5:00pm. Closed on bank holidays.
Published: 22 January 2016
From: Valuation Office Agency