Market Insight

Business rates, COVID-19 and why it’s good to talk

November 3, 2020

One of our core values here at Vail Williams is that we listen to our clients. We care about what is happening to them and what the future holds. Our advice and the way we operate as a business reflects this.

At the start of the pandemic, one of the first things we did was contact all of our existing clients to check in, to ask how things were going, to see if everything was OK.

Because communication and relationships matter – they matter to us and to you, and they help us to yield the best possible outcomes for clients. 

It was during one of those conversations that an opportunity arose to help a business on whose property we had previously conducted a valuation, Peacock & Co. Solicitors, based in Wimbledon, London. 

Having chatted about how business was going and what the firm’s current and future property plans were, we identified a potential opportunity to save the business some money on their business rates at what is a challenging time for the UK business community. 

Peacock & Co. Solicitors is based at 94 High Street in Wimbledon, with offices on the ground floor, first, second and third floors. 

However, the business had two rating assessments which differed by nearly £11,000. When taken separately, their rates liability totalled £74,250pa. 

Working closely with the client, we put forward a proposal to merge their rating assessments through the Check, Challenge and Appeal system, discussing carefully the pros and cons of doing so

Charles Hylton-Potts, Partner at Peacock & Co. Solicitors, explained: “We were approached by Vail Williams offering to review our business rates valuation. Their proposal was performance based and they carefully explained the check, challenge, appeal system, and the risk versus potential reward.”

Our business rates experts put forward an application to the Council to merge the rating assessments or hereditaments to benefit from quantum, saving the law firm £24,500 a year. 

Merging rating assessments in this way can be achieved when an occupier has two adjacent and contiguous units, or if they are located on multiple floors within the same property, with an internal link like a stairwell. 

“Their application to the Council was accepted first time creating a 33% reduction in rateable value and an overall saving over the 2017 Rating List of £72,628.24 – far more than we had anticipated. Needless to say, we were very pleased!” concluded Charles. 

So, you see, it’s good to talk and sometimes it really can pay dividends. 

If you would like our business rates experts to explore potential business rates savings on a performance only basis, don’t hesitate to get in touch.