Rural Ireland is being deeply impacted due to the intended outcome of the Valuation Act of 2015 not having happened says Pat Davitt, IPAV CEO to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation. ‘to link commercial rates to rent being paid’ is the section yet to happen.

“Rates being applied to a property should reflect the income being achieved from it, but that is not what’s happening. With such properties the Valuation Office (VO) either does not accept the reality of the low rents or it analyses the passing rents incorrectly and then links the valuations on these properties to the tone of the valuation list that the Valuation Office itself has created, not the actual rents” said Mr Davitt before the Committee on Tuesday 28 November.

Two important changes were however made. Firstly, Section 30 of the Valuation Act 2001 has been abolished. It allowed a second appeal to the VO. Mr Davitt was not pleased with second important change and he said it undermined one of the most important intentions of the Valuation Bill 2015, which was to treat all rate payers in a fair way. The second change was to Section 19 of the Valuation Act 2001 was amended by Section 7b 5 of the Valuation Act 2015. This meant that grounds of appeal that ordinary rate payers can make in the Valuation Tribunal are now limited to appealing against the tone of the valuation list.

“In many of the re-evaluations the proposed Valuation Certificates were appealed by property owners or tenants but many of the appeals were not heard by the Valuation Office during the process. The reason for this change in the act I believe was the Vo viewpoint had been overturned by the Tribunal virtually all the time. Effectively these changes marked a conspiracy against struggling businesses in rural Ireland” says Pat Davitt.

According to Mr Davitt, notwithstanding the fact there was a horrible recession from 2007 to 2013, the countrywide rates re-evaluation and the rate purse of €1.5 billion has remained the same.

“In this period many IPAV members experienced a fall of 50% in their fee turnover, as the price of property halved and is still 40% behind where it was in 2006, with the exception of some parts of Dublin. The re-valuation process merely succeeded in taking from Peter to give to Paul” said Mr Davitt.