What are they?
The Assessor is required to enter in the Valuation Roll a net annual value and a rateable value for each non-domestic subject. For almost all categories of property, the net annual and rateable values are the same. However, some types of property enjoy a measure of derating, i.e. their rateable value is less than their net annual value. These include mineral subjects and stud farms.
The net annual value of any subject is, by statute, the rent at which it might reasonably be expected to let from year to year, if the tenant undertook to pay the rates, the repairs, insurance and any other payments necessary to maintain the property in a condition to command the rent.
When estimating the rent at which properties would let, the Assessor must do so by reflecting the general levels of rents actually passing. He does not choose the levels of rateable values – these are fixed by landlords and tenants, negotiating in the open market. The Assessor merely reflects that market.
How does the Assessor calculate his values?
The Assessor is required to carry out a revaluation of all non-domestic property periodically. The last general revaluation took place in 2023, with the new valuation roll coming into force on 1st April of that year.
At each revaluation, when fixing the rateable value, the Assessor must estimate the level of rental value that each property had at a statutory “tone” date. This ensures that all properties are assessed at a common point in time. For the 2023 revaluation, the tone date was 1st April 2022.
The Assessor examines the rents being paid for the various types of property, and uses them to establish, if possible, schemes which permit him to calculate a value for every property in his area. No matter what method the Assessor uses to arrive at his scheme of value, the object is the same – to place in the valuation roll a net annual value which is a fair estimate of the rental value of the property in question.
When can the Assessor change a Rateable Value?
Only at a revaluation, or following a physical change to a property or its surroundings. Between revaluations, the Assessor can only change the value of a property to reflect some material change in the circumstances affecting the value. This might be an extension to a property, a change in its use, or a change in its surroundings.
The Assessor may also alter values in settlement of proposals received from new proprietors, tenants or occupiers, or to correct certain specified errors.
If the Assessor can’t change rateable values, why do my rates change?
The rates which you actually pay are a result of multiplying the rateable value of your property by the rate poundage. The poundage varies from year to year, the amount being fixed by Central Government through the Unified Business Rate, or UBR. The UBR is the same everywhere, so all ratepayers with the same rateable value will usually pay the same in rates.
The value looks high – can I lodge a proposal against it?