Thursday, 29 May 2014

Are you paying too much?

Companies could be paying more business rates than they need to – all for the sake of a tape measure.

Madelene Schofield-Whittingham who leads our commercial property team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, said many businesses would be unaware they were actually paying too much.

“You’ll find the current rateable value figure for your premises on your annual rates statement, or you can check it on the Valuation Office’s online database. But importantly, you should look closely at the description of your premises which is also included on the database because this is where mistakes could occur.

“The website will list your floor area, what the premises are used for, and the date on which they were last valued, as each of these elements affects the rateable value and so directly impacts on the amount of business rates you pay.

“Start with the basics – are the measurements correct? Don’t just assume they’re right – measure the space for yourself and double check. And has the Valuation Office included an accurate description of what your premises are used for? Maybe they have your premises listed as a shop but you actually use the property as offices?

“Check too whether similar premises in the area may have a lower rateable value than yours. There may be a good reason for this – perhaps they have a different frontage or access, but it’s wise to make the comparison in case you’re missing an opportunity to bring your rate down.”

Madelene said companies could check the value of neighbouring buildings by putting the postcode into the database.

“You need to consider though that if you’ve made changes to your premises since the last valuation took place, the rateable value may actually increase – and if you appeal, the local council will inspect your property which could mean you end up paying an increased premium.

“If you believe you have a genuine case, you can appeal to the local authority for a reduction in the rateable value, but you’ll need to be sure of your facts first. There are specialist rating firms that can help negotiate a reduction, but that will obviously cost more money – so by checking the details carefully yourself, you could save your company vital cash.”

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Boom in business brings in a new lawyer

Property experts at Martin-Kaye Solicitors have welcomed a new face to their team as demand for their services continues to grow.

Simon Jarvis has joined us at our head office in Euston Way, in Telford, after a huge increase in business for the property team thanks to an upturn in the economy.

He has over 10 years’ experience in property law and has handled all kinds of matters in the sector.

“I am very pleased to be joining Martin-Kaye Solicitors as their reputation for delivering high quality customer service is well-known, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of a new role,” said Simon. “I’m particularly keen to build on the firm’s excellent reputation and work closely with the rest of the property team to continue to develop the business still further.”

Simon’s expertise covers a wide range of property matters ranging from domestic purchases of freehold, leasehold, new-build and shared ownership properties, to acting on behalf of major national housing developers to help them acquire land for development.

Senior partner, Graham Davies, said: “We’re very happy to welcome Simon to our property team – his strong skills will prove invaluable and will fit perfectly with the rest of our existing staff. His performance so far has been very impressive, and we’re sure his knowledge and experience will make him a real asset to our team.”