Repair and rateable value
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) doesn’t normally make changes to your rateable value if it’s in a state of disrepair. There are however, exceptions to this.
What is meant by disrepair
A property might be in disrepair because:
- it has fallen into disrepair over time
- it has been damaged
- it has been vandalised
- there has been a fire or a flood
Rateable value and disrepair
Legislation provides a definition of rateable value that applies to all properties. Rateable value represents the rental value of a property if it was let at the standard valuation date on the basis that the tenant pays for all repairs during the letting. The definition includes an assumption that the property is let in a state of reasonable repair.
As a general rule disrepair does not affect a property’s rateable value, however there are exceptions:
- the property is in such a state of disrepair that a reasonable landlord would consider the repair costs to be uneconomic
- the property is in such a state of disrepair that a reasonable landlord might repair only part of it
- the property has been so badly damaged by fire or flooding that it can’t be economically repaired and used
If a reasonable landlord would consider it uneconomic to do the repairs, then the rental valuation will be based on the basis of the actual state of repair.
What is meant by repair
Repair only covers fixing any parts of the property that are in disrepair. It should be repaired to a standard that is expected for a property of its age, character, locality and the type of tenant likely to occupy it.
For example, the expected standard of repair for a modern office building would be much higher than that for an old warehouse.
Repair can include an element of renewal but not improvement. This means, for example, that a leaking flat roof would usually be patch repaired to make it watertight and not fully replaced with a slated pitch roof.
Uneconomic to repair
A property is considered uneconomic to repair if the repair costs are so out of proportion to the rental value that a reasonable landlord would not spend the money doing them. This is because it would be unlikely they would get an adequate return on the investment and it would not be financially worthwhile.
Properties being repaired
If work is being undertaken to repair a property, this is considered in just the same way as a property needing repair. If the works would be considered economically reasonable then the property is treated as already being in reasonable repair for rating.
Alterations being carried out to a property
It may be that the rateable value of a property can be reduced whilst the work is underway, depending on the extent of the work being carried out to improve, extend or enhance it. Each case will be considered on its own facts.
A reduction will only usually be appropriate at the point where the cost to restore the property to its original use is no longer economic in relation to its rateable value.
In the case of alteration or demolition works, it may be that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) (who set the rateable value) can’t amend the rateable value list entry (their official list of all rateable values) until the works are substantially underway. They will ask you to contact them again when the works are more advanced.
If you believe your property is in ‘uneconomic repair’
If you don’t feel that it’s cost effective to repair your property, you should tell the VOA using their online service as soon as possible. You need to provide all the evidence that your property is in a state of substantial disrepair, so that the valuation officer can investigate.
Useful evidence includes:
- photographs of the repairs required and the extent of those repairs
- an itemised estimate of repair costs and work required
- the history of occupation and use of the premises
- future plans or proposals for the occupation and use of the building, including any planning applications or permissions
- where the property is being altered, a schedule of the work being undertaken which details each stage and the point in time when that stage began
The VOA will consider the evidence you provide and decide whether or not the repairs required have an impact on rateable value.
If the VOA thinks that the repairs needed have a negative effect on the rateable value of your property, they may reduce the rateable value figure or even give a nil value, depending on the extent of the repair.
Inspection of your property
A valuation officer may need to inspect your property and you should let the VOA know of any health and safety arrangements, if applicable.
If you disagree with the VOA’s decision
If you disagree with the valuation officer’s decision, you can make a challenge through the VOA’s online service if your property is in England. For properties in Wales, you can complete a proposal form and send it to the VOA.
If you decide to make a challenge, you should provide as much evidence as possible of why you think your rateable value is wrong.
The VOA will discuss the case with you and if you can’t reach an agreement, you can contact the Valuation Tribunal to make an appeal.