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01 December 2011

Ratepayers set to save millions following landmark revaluation case

Ratepayers could save millions of pounds a year, following a landmark Scottish revaluation case won by BNP Paribas Real Estate on behalf of a number of clients in Mercat in Kircaldy, which took into account the recession’s effects on the rental value of properties. The Assessor attempted to argue that he could not reflect these depressed rental values due to the wording of rating legislation. The Fife Committee agreed with the ratepayers’ contentions that depressed rents should be reflected.

The case is the first, albeit major, step as the Fife Assessor has a 14 day period in which to lodge an appeal to The Lands Valuation Appeal Court.

The 2010 Rating Revaluation came into force on 1 April 2010 and was based on rental values set in April 2008. A previous appeal had been pursued against the 2005 valuation roll and reduced rental values by 45% effective on 1 September 2009. The assessor issued the 2010 valuation roll with rental values based on April 2008 rents, almost double those of September 2009, ignoring reduced rental levels established during 2009. The successful appeals will see the 2009 RVs re-instated from 1st April 2010.

Evidence was led and the case co-ordinated by BNP Paribas Real Estate (acting on behalf of the landlords) and GL Hearn and Colliers (acting on behalf of various occupiers). 

Billy McKaig, senior rating director at BNP Paribas Real Estate in Edinburgh, comments: ‘This is very much a test case that is the first step to establishing rateable values across Scotland correctly reflecting economic conditions. If left un-challenged or upheld at the Lands valuation Appeal Court, the case will result in reduced rates liabilities correctly reflecting depressed rental levels caused by the economic circumstances we find ourselves in and save ratepayers millions over the course of the 2010 rating revaluation. This will help both landlords and tenants alike in making premises more affordable and potentially stimulating economic activity.’

David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation, comments: ‘This is potentially a seminal decision for this revaluation period and notably it is based on concerns raised by both landlords and tenants that their business rate rateable values are totally out of kilter with the current economic climate.  The extent of the reductions – potentially 45% in this case – underlines the depth of the recession and seriously brings into question the Scottish Government’s recent decision to increase business rates on large premises for retailers selling alcohol and tobacco as well as on empty business premises.’

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