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2017 Ratings List Expected to Receive a Mixed Reception

Oct 4, 2016

The draft 2017 Commercial Rating List has been published and ratepayers can now check their assessments on the website of the Government’s Valuation Office.  The list will provide the basis for the charging of commercial rates for the next 5 years from 2017.

The new rating list will come into force on 1 April 2017 and is based on rental values as at April 2015.  The new multiplier to be applied to the new rateable Values will be published later in the year but is expected to rise.  Thus, ratepayers whose assessments are higher in the new list will pay higher rates and if the assessment rises above the £12,000 limit, they may lose small business rates relief.

The general picture over the UK is that assessments have not changed significantly but there have been significant increases in some sectors and areas.  For example, areas such as Central London have seen rises in rateable values.

On a more localised level, Barker Storey Matthews' Bury St. Edmonds Commercial Property Consultants have carried out a review of assessments in the town.  It appears that, in general, assessments remain at a similar level to the 2010 list; however, there is evidence of slight increases or reductions for many properties, so checking the new list is advised. 

For example, secondary shops such as those in Hatter Street have seen small reductions, while Abbeygate Street and St Johns Street are generally at the same level as existing.  However, in the Buttermarket (one of the prime retail areas), many rateable values have fallen, which is good news for retailers in this area. For example, one vacant unit in the Buttermarket has dropped by £5,000 to £14,250, representing a 26% reduction, with a larger neighbouring unit falling by £15,250 or 25.8%.

Rateable values in the office sector appear more stable, such as at Hillside Business Park where values are at similar levels to the 2010 list, although there have been some reductions- for example, one larger office in that location has fallen to from £32,250 to £29,000.

On the industrial front, more modern small units - such as those also at Hillside Business Park - have seen slight increases.  Older units remain the same or have fallen slightly; for example, an older style factory at Eastern way sees its rateable value reduce by £1,750 to £22,750.

There do, however, appear to be some notable exceptions, with some quite significant changes observed.

One doctors' surgery in the town centre have seen rated reduced significantly by 39.8% (more than £30,000) with another reducing by over 30%.  There are also other examples of more significant falls and increases to buck the general trend in the town.

We do not yet know the transitional arrangements but these will affect actual increases and decreases in rates paid.

Appeals can be made against the new assessments from 2017 so it is important for ratepayers to consult a rating surveyor as soon as possible to check that their new assessments are correct.  The Government are looking to implement a new appeals system which necessitates full details of the property and comparable to be submitted at the start of the appeals procedure.  

At present, an appeal can be made without such information.  It is therefore very important to get advice from a chartered surveyor who knows the local market and has Rating experience.

Barker Storey Matthews Bury St Edmonds can provide further advice to local ratepayers - for commercial property and otherwise - on all aspects of the new rating list. Please contact Adrian Browne BSc MRICS or Steven Mudd BSc (Hons) on 01284 702655.


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