How To Turn A Natural Disaster Into A Saving

Temporary Rate Relief Explained

The British weather has taken its toll on many homes, causing untold damage and affecting the lives of their
occupants. The same is true of many business owners having their premises affected by the floods. It is a
tough time and there are many factors to think about when dealing with such a natural disaster.

We are going to focus on business rates and how to make savings while we all suffer from the flood damage.
Your Business Rates assessment is in simple terms an estimate of what the premises (shop, office, warehouse
etc) might reasonably be expected to rent for, having regard to the physical circumstances existing on a given
day. That day in most cases is the 1st April, 2010. However if physical changes occur after this date and it is
reasonable to assume those changes would have a material effect on the rent someone would pay for your
premises, then the rateable value should be adjusted to reflect this.

In general, the changes we often see are permanent, such as a new extension or the demolition of part of the
property, but what many people don’t realize is that temporary changes both negative and positive can also
effect your rateable value! Common reasons for a temporary rate change would be road works which reduce the foot fall to
your shop for a period of time, renovation /refurbishment of the premises, major building works nearby
which make trading difficult or impossible and of course natural disasters such as flooding.

It must be remembered that what the Valuation Office (The Government Department who assess your rates)
are looking for is evidence that this temporary disability would effect the rent someone would pay for your
premises.

The two key factors in any case are therefore:

  1. The severity of the disability
  2. The duration of the disability

If you have been affected by flooding either directly or indirectly then it is essential to act quickly and raise
an appeal. This can be done online through the Valuation Office portal or through a knowledgeable agent
who can maximise the saving. If you wait until the flooding subsides or the repair works are complete then you will weaken your case, as the date taken for assessing the impact of this disaster on your rates is the date the appeal is lodged (The Material day).
In order therefore to maximise your chances of success the following key points should be remembered:

  1. Appeal at an early stage.
  2. Take photos to show the severity/extent of the damage.
  3. Keep a diary to show the duration of the disability and retain details of the costs of repairs.
  4. Keep details of how your trade has been affected. Ideally compared with the same period the year before.

There is no guarantee that you will be successful, but following these simple steps will help. We all need
quite a bit of help in these difficult times. Best of Luck!

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