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Valuation Appeal Committee - Rating

What is it?

The Valuation Appeal Committee comprises a panel of lay men and women who sit to decide appeals against the values which the Assessor has placed on properties in their area. They are not connected in any way with the Assessor, nor with the Council, although for reasons of administrative convenience they usually sit in property owned by the Council. There are no particular qualifications required of members of the Committee, but its Secretary is a solicitor, who attends to correspondence and advises the Committee on any legal matters. He takes no part, however, in reaching the Committee's decision.

What happens when an appeal is lodged with the Valuation Appeal Committee?

At least seventy days before the date set for the Hearing, you will receive a formal notice from the Committee's Secretary, advising you of the date, time and place of the Hearing. If the date is not suitable, you should tell the Secretary at once, so that another date can be arranged.

Do I still carry on with discussions with the Assessor?

Yes. You should continue negotiations, because you can settle or withdraw your appeal at any time before the Hearing.

What information will I have to give?

If you did not give the Assessor a full statement of the grounds for your appeal with your original letter, you must do so at least 35 days before the Hearing. You must say clearly why you think the value is wrong, and you must say what you think the value ought to be. Within 14 days of receiving your statement, the Assessor will reply, with a statement of the grounds on which the valuation was arrived at.

If you wish to base your appeal on the values of other properties, you must provide a list of all the comparable properties to the Assessor at least 21 days before the Hearing. If you miss out any property on which you wish to base your appeal at the Hearing, you may not be allowed to mention it when the time comes. At the same time, you can ask the Assessor for a list of his comparables, which he must send you at least 14 days before the Hearing.

Will I be able to have someone to represent me at the Hearing?

Yes. You may present your case yourself, or you may be represented by someone else. If you are to be represented by someone else, you should inform the Committee Secretary as soon as possible. You may particularly wish to consult a chartered surveyor or a solicitor if you think your appeal is complex or highly technical, or where major questions of principle or law may be involved. In such cases you may wish to ask the Appeal Committee to refer the appeal to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland, and you would be well advised to seek advice. The Assessor will also be able to provide further information on this particular issue.

The Assessor may appear in person, or his case may be presented by a member of his staff. In some cases, the Assessor may be represented by Counsel.

If you wish, you may arrange for the evidence given at the Hearing to be recorded. If you do, you must advise the Committee before the Hearing, and you must pay the cost of the recording. In Tayside, it is the Assessor's practice to record any case, at his expense.

What happens if I miss the Hearing?

If you or your representative fail to attend the Hearing, the Assessor may ask for the case to be dismissed. If the Valuation Appeal Committee agrees with this request, you will be notified that the case has been dismissed. If you had a good reason for missing the Hearing, you can write to the Secretary within 14 days and ask for your case to be heard on another date.

What will happen at the Hearing?

The Valuation Appeal Committee Chairman is responsible for the way the Hearing is conducted, and he will ask you to present your case.

If you are to give evidence yourself, you may be asked to swear that the evidence that you will give will be the truth. You should limit your evidence to the facts which you wish the Committee to consider. The Assessor or his representative, or any member of the Committee may then ask you questions about your evidence.

The Assessor's evidence will then be given, and you and the Committee will be able to question it.

You will then be asked to sum up your case, and the Assessor will sum up his side of the argument. The Committee will then withdraw, or ask you and the Assessor to withdraw, so that it can reach its decision.

When will I hear the decision?

Usually, you will be advised straight away what the Committee's decision is. Sometimes, however, you will be advised later in writing, or at an adjourned Hearing. If you are informed orally, you will receive written confirmation of the decision.

I don't think the Valuation Appeal Committee reached the right decision. What can I do?

If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Committee, you can lodge an appeal against it, but only on a point of law, and following a strict timetable. If that is your intention, you would probably be best to seek the advice of a lawyer or a chartered surveyor experienced in such appeals.

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