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New rules for business rates launched as profession braces for rise in appeals

Special Reports

A new mandatory code of practice for chartered surveyors who support clients through the business rates appeals process aims to bring clarity for the sector
following the upheaval created by recent business rates revaluations.

 

Enhanced guidelines bring clarity following revaluation

Recent business rates revaluations set to fuel rise in consumer complaints and demand for appeals.

We have joined forces with Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation and Rating Surveyors’ Association to develop new code.

The code seeks to improve customer protection and support professionals by clarifying appeals processes following rates revaluation.

Mandatory standards apply across UK; however, the guidance recognises practice differences within Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The code, developed by RICS in collaboration with leading bodies in the profession, will ensure RICSaccredited professionals are better placed to support clients who wish to appeal business rates decisions following the revaluations in Scotland, England and Wales.

Setting stringent standards for consultants’ communications with clients, the code protects consumers by ensuring contractual conditions, particularly in relation to fees and contract terminations, are clear and easy to understand. By updating the Declaration by Ratepayers, clients are fully aware that providing incorrect information to the Valuation Office Agency may result in civil penalties.

With business rates high on the agenda for many occupiers, and anecdotal evidence showing we can expect a rise in the number of complaints following the recent revaluation, it’s essential that RICS sets the standard for the provision of rating advice in the forthcoming 2017 list. This new code embraces best
practice and, in so doing, reinforces the public service credentials of RICS.

Mark Higgin, Head of Rating at Montagu Evans LLP and Chair of the Rating and Local Taxation Panel at RICS

This new code of practice provides vital protection for the many small firms who are thinking about employing a ratings surveyor to appeal their recent valuation.
We have worked closely with RICS to ensure that it’s tailored to protect small business owners and promote best practice.

At its core is a declaration to be signed by both client and consultant before a contract is agreed. This will equip small firms with the awareness they need before
signing on the dotted line. That includes the understanding that an appeal can send business rates up as well as down and recognition of the fees that apply during the appeals process.

This code for RICS rating consultants is the most rigorous created to date. Designed with small firms in mind, we urge our members to have a copy close at hand when considering a rates appeal.

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman