The VOA is writing to all publicans as they roll out their revaluation of all commercial property by 2023.
The VOA page related to this process can be found HERE
The revaluation document has a blank box right at the end for you to write any comments and or get clarification from the VOA.
We strongly suggest publicans include the following text to the VOA – this is in order to avoid the chronic problem of the VOA using your actual trade as the basis of the rateable valuation assessment.
The accounts on their own simply indicate a level of trade I am attaining and perhaps a rent I can ‘afford’ rather than any open market rental value (RV) that an REO would pay. I would argue that our accounts demonstrate I am over trading, and as you know, the tenant’s accounts should not be adopted for the purposes of setting rent under FMT. The fear is you would be assessing us on our performance, and I naturally seek reassurance from you, and evidence in the form of comparable pubs and sight of a detailed calculation of FMT that this is not going to be the case and that the assessment you are undertaking is following a recognised professional assessment of a public house.
So to be clear:
Are you going to be setting the rent based on my accounts?
If not then why do you need them?
Are you assessing the FMT without a visit to the pub?
If not, what weight are you attaching to the evidence I am supplying on this form?
How will you assess and disregard the goodwill of our operation given that there is no box/section on the form you have supplied?
Further, I will need to see the detailed FMT breakdown from your surveyor that underpins the lawful assessment of RV, e.g. the revenue and expenditure, including the sales mix (% of draught wines spirits and minerals, the sediment & wastage you are applying) the gross profit for the categories and or selling prices and a detailed breakdown of the expenditure wages, utilities etc.
Please confirm the comparable pubs (if any) you are relying upon in the assessment of the RV or if you are using benchmarking and if so what benchmark?
Further, it is noted that during (public health) restrictions a pub business is for the most part unable to trade and or has to comply with all new stringent requirements which come with extra costs. This is quite unlike other classes of retail businesses who like us sell food and drink to consumers and are able to open with no such restrictions. This has exposed the clear disadvantage a pub business such as mine faces going forward. Seeing as it is quite foreseeable that my pub is now treated differently in such situations I expect a reduction in the RV as a matter of course to reflect the changes in operation our pub faces under restrictions. The other commercial retailers, many of whom have no such impediment and have had huge uplifts in trade can of course expect an uplift in their RV as they have clear advantages that are far in excess of our pub business.
I look forward to hearing from you regarding the above points.
If you need specific help with the VOA assessment please see our dedicated page HERE