The West Midlands should escape the worst of the rating revaluation, an expert has predicted. Nevertheless Redditch-based property consultancy John Truslove is warning that rating cowboys will again be doing the rounds making promises they will never keep.
Businesses across England and Wales will this month be receiving Valuation Office Agency letters which will form the basis of the next business rates bill.
These will advise on new rateable values for property which will come into force next April.
The VOA is currently placing adverts announcing the move and advising people against thinking it is just another piece of chunk mail through the door.
It is asking them to check that all details are correct and let the agency know if there are any factual errors.
Mr Truslove is stressing that the information is only half the equation.
Commercial property owners will only find out their new bills when the rate in the pound is fixed.
“It is then you will know how much you have to pay,” he noted. “That is the hot potato.”
Mr Truslove predicts the South-east will be hit hard, but not the West Midlands.
“The West Midlands economy is not strong. There are a lot of people struggling and they will continue to struggle for some time to come.
“I don’t think we are going to see much of a change in terms of payments.”
However, he does expect the cowboys to come knocking – claiming to be extremely successful in terms of obtaining large percentage reductions in rateable values and refunds from local authorities on the amount of rates paid.
Typically they try to persuade the gullible individual to put money up front.
“They come up with new scams every time,” said Mr Truslove. “My advice to people is not to sign anything and don’t give them money under any circumstances.”
He stressed that reputable valuers would never take cash up front – their remuneration would be a percentage of any saving, typically about a quarter.