Like many of our industry colleagues, we awaited the publication of the Draft Rating List with baited breath.
Much has changed since the last revaluation. The 2010 Rating List was based on rental values as at 1 April 2008 (the antecedent valuation date), a time which coincided with the very peak of the occupier market.
In the seven years that have passed, there have been wide variations in how rents have moved; for some locations, rental values have barely recovered to their 2008 level, while others have recovered and moved on very strongly. This has produced some very significant variations in the rateable values contained within the Draft Rating List, which comes into effect on 1 April 2017.
Unsurprisingly, London and the South East were the hardest hit of all the regions, adding further impetus to the pledge made by the Prime Minister to rebalance the economy across the country as a whole.
With Yorkshire and Humber offices also seeing the biggest fall of any sector in any region, the case for the Northern Powerhouse as a viable alternative for businesses seeking to relocate away from the capital, received a substantial boost.
In terms of specific sectors, England’s retail sector took a hammering, with an overall increase of 4.8%, compared with a reduction of 8.5% in Wales. London, as predicted, will see the biggest increases. The sector is already navigating the significant changes in consumer shopping habits over the last 41 years and the new rateable values may lead to further debate about the need for retailers to invest in a robust online strategy.
Infrastructure and utility occupiers will have a shocking 41.9% increase in England and 29.1% in Wales. Not good news for consumers.
We strongly advise ratepayers to use the opportunity between now and the Rating List going live to review their new assessments and inform the Valuation Office Agency of any factual errors where appropriate to avoid falling foul of the new 'Check Challenge Appeal' regulations, which will make it increasingly complicated, costly and time consuming to challenge new rateable values from 1 April 2017 onwards.