The Rating legislation in force in Ireland dates back to the Poor Relief (Ireland) Act 1838.
Every property was allocated a valuation which was meant to approximate to the rent that a willing tenant would pay to a willing landlord. These values were set in the 19th century. Rates on agricultural land were abolished following a Supreme Court decision (AG v Brennan) and rates on domestic premises were abolished by legislation in the 1970s.
Consequently, rates are only payable on commercial properties (which can include some non-profit making bodies).
When new properties are built they are valued by reference to the values already in the list for a rating authority area (i.e. a county council or city corporation area). In that regard prior to 2001 all properties had rateable valuations that were generally speaking, far removed from modern commercial rents.
The Valuation Act 2001 introduced a gradual roll of out of revaluations for local authority areas. Section 19 of the Act provides that:
“the Commissioner [of Valuation], after consultation with the Minister for the Environment and Local Government and the rating authority concerned, may make an order . . . .specifying a rating authority area as being an area in relation to which the Commissioner proposes to appoint an officer of the Commissioner . . . . to organise and secure the carrying out of a valuation of every relevant property situate in that area . . .”
The Valuation Office state that all local authorities are being revalued under a National Revaluation Programme which is well underway. The project is called “Revaluation 2017” as all ratepayers in these areas will receive their final Valuation Certificates in 2017 effective for rates purposes from 2018 onwards.
Prior to the Valuation Office conducting a revaluation of your Local Authority area a consultation process will take place between the Commissioner of Valuation, The Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government and the Local Authority.”
There are obligations under section 45 of the Act to provide the Commissioner with information in relation to a property (e.g. rent, turnover, licence arrangements). Ratepayers need to be advised about these obligations and consequences of failure to comply.
In that regard properties such as retail units and offices may be relatively straightforward to value on the basis of comparative properties on which to make a valuation.
Other properties such as hotels and public houses have distinct valuation models applicable. Properties such as quarries, nursing homes and wind farms all throw up special considerations and detailed advices and careful consideration will be needed in such cases.
Additionally there is also the question of possible exemption from rates under the provisions of the Act.
Generally speaking ratepayers will be issued with proposed valuation certificates and this is in reality a first opportunity to make representations without having to go to the expense of going to the Tribunal. Please contact us for early advices in this regard.
When the certificates are ultimately issued, it may be somewhat difficult to know whether the result is good or not with considering the other properties in the list.
There is a tight deadline for bringing an appeal and the grounds of appeal must be specified. Again, this issue reinforces the necessity of seeking advices early on.
Generally speaking ratepayers will be issued with proposed valuation certificates and this is a first opportunity to make representations without having to go to the expense of going to the Tribunal. A rating consultant should really be engaged at this stage.
An interesting legal issue is that a ratepayer can appeal not only his or her own valuation, but also that of every other property in the rating authority area.
The 2001 Act was amended in 2015. As a consequence there is now only one appeal available.
Outside of a revaluation, it is possible to apply for a revision of your property’s valuation in certain circumstances. Please feel free to contact us for further information in this regard.