Colliers International reports that office occupiers and landlords could claim up to £15,000 per office, in overpaid business rates, if they lodge an appeal by 31 March.

The research considers the number of office assessments in each region nationally and the total rateable value (RV).  Average savings are calculated based on Colliers’ success so far on the 2010 rating list, resulting in a 7.5% reduction.  

London leads the table in terms of savings available, followed by the South East due to higher property values, the greatest number of headquarter buildings and density of assets. 
The East of England comes in third place due in part to having fewer offices but in locations such as Cambridge, which can command higher rents leading to higher RVs. The North West is in fourth place.

John Webber, Head of Rating at Colliers International commented:  “The office market has become very polarized, particularly in many regional centres, and in our experience, given the dearth of rental evidence in 2008, the Valuation Officer has often done little more than put his finger in the air to ascertain rateable values.  We would encourage anyone who hasn’t investigated their current rating assessment, to do so as soon as possible – before the shutters come down on 31 March.

“Most businesses won’t be aware of these changes. It hasn’t been greatly publicised and even our clients with experience in rating are unaware of it until we discuss it with them.    We are concerned that the new deadline will cause panic with the cowboys in the industry persuading clients to appeal en-masse without appropriate due diligence.”

Businesses have just four weeks left to appeal their Business Rates, before the deadline.

Colliers International has set up a hotline for businesses to call, to find out more about this issue and to find out whether they are entitled to a rebate:  0800 3583230 or more information can be found on the Colliers International website here.