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  • squeaky
    • #2
    • 7th Mar 08, 5:02 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Mar 08, 5:02 PM
    Hiya

    Did this not help?

    Council Tax Cost Cutting: reduce your band and grab any discounts Discussion Area
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
  • libra10
    • #3
    • 7th Mar 08, 5:10 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Mar 08, 5:10 PM
    I dont know whether either of these will help


    http://www.nationwide.co.uk/hpi/default.asp

    http://www.voa.gov.uk/cti/InitS.asp?lcn=0

    Good luck
  • gabyjane
    • #4
    • 8th Mar 08, 5:57 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Mar 08, 5:57 PM
    Hi thanks for the replys, no squeaky it didnt really help! it reffered to the nationwide site that i cannot make head or tale of, i have no idea what Q4 means? or what the houses in the surrounding roads were in 1991..the council page is just asking for authority etc and not recognising the postcode anyway, it also doesnt cover 1991! i feel like im going round in circles!
  • gabyjane
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 08, 6:07 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 08, 6:07 PM
    Ok i ahve found the postcodes of the propertys on the surrounding roads and put them into the council checker, it has come up with 90% of them band A and a couple band B..is this for now or in 1991 as it never gave dates? i have put link below and hope somone can help..does it matter actually if it is now or then as still very low,,we are getting billed on a C..
    Also it has been just over 6 months since we moved in BUt it wasnt sorted out for ages as they guessed the banding till they could sort it as new build, can i argue this if they say we are too late?
    many thanks..
    http://www.voa.gov.uk/cti/RefSResp.asp?lcn=0
  • gabyjane
    • #6
    • 8th Mar 08, 6:22 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Mar 08, 6:22 PM
    me again! ok have checked out 3 surrounding roads and the highest is a B BUT i have to be sure that they are for then..even if they are for now does it matter? really bugging me as just tried one of the new ones opposite us which is a 3 bed and they are a B we are a 2 bed and a C...please help as will need to ring them monday if im right..thankyou.
  • Altarf
    • #7
    • 8th Mar 08, 6:55 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Mar 08, 6:55 PM
    The council tax banding is based on the price the property would have been worth in 1991, irrespective of when it was built, whether that was 1991, 1891, or 2001. Obviously if the house did not exist in 1991 (like yours), then the VOA have to work back to what it would have been worth (had it existed) in 1991.

    You can use the property price calculators to give you a rough value to see whether it is worth going any further, but unless the value it gives you is way under the current band, I would suggest doing some more work.

    What I would do is find example of properties of a similar size and type (i.e. terraced, semi, etc) to yours in the surrounding area (ignore larger properties as it will just confuse the issue), and see what band they are. If they are all (or mostly all) in a lower band to yours, move onto the next step.

    Find out the selling prices of those type of properties in 1991. The easiest way is to visit your local library and check the newspaper archive. You should be able to find examples of properties and the advertised prices from that time.

    Your next stage depends on if you are within 6 months of moving in. If so, just use the appeal form on the VOA page, and put in as much detail as you can. You can always provide more later. If you are past the 6 months, then you need to write to them, to point out that you believe that your banding is incorrect (providing all the reasons) and that they have a duty to maintain the integrity of the list. There is no point in phoning them, do it by letter.
  • gabyjane
    • #8
    • 8th Mar 08, 7:17 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Mar 08, 7:17 PM
    Thankyou for your reply very helpfull.
    The way i have looked at is this:
    The surrounding roads and i have checked 5 of them are as such
    Road 1 is houses 2 are band A 7 are Band B 1 is Band C

    Road 2 is mixed houses and flats they are all band B except one house which is band A

    Road 3 is mixed houses and flats they are either A or B

    Road 4,5 and 6 are unavailable and they are my road and the other 2 up and around by us, this is because they are not fully built therefore not occupied yet

    Road 7 is houses all band B, a couple of these i know are 3 beds and the rest 2 so id'e be miffed if i was the 3 bed person paying the same as the 2..again these are the new houses by us BUT were the first built so showing up.

    Does this sound ok if i write something along those lines..i have heard of you ring and explain they may change it there and then?
    At the end of the day surely if any of the ones shown are 3 beds then we have ground for appeal as they are still lower than ours whenever they were banded...
    thanks...oh i am registered with a property site too, i have checked one road and they were worth the prices they were banded for..
  • Altarf
    • #9
    • 9th Mar 08, 6:27 PM
    • #9
    • 9th Mar 08, 6:27 PM
    I would write and not ring. You are in danger of sounding like "it's not fair, change my band" in a phone call, rather than the reasoned argument that you need to put forward. Also if you write, then there can be no misunderstanding of what was said by you or them.

    As I said before, ignore properties that are not the same as yours, such as 1 bed properties or flats. It is pointless mentioning them even if they are in a lower band, as they are cheaper/smaller properties.

    I would only mention 3 bed houses if they are in a lower band than you. If they are in the same band, then they may be at the top of the band and you at the bottom. It's not fair, but it doesn't help your case.

    Find several properties that are as similar as yours as possible, so the same number of bedrooms, same size, terraced or semi, etc that are in a lower band than yours and use that as the basis for your claim. That way your claim is simple and straightforward, and more difficult for the VOA to disagree with.
  • gabyjane
    Hi Altarf thanks for the reply. Well ALL the surrounding houses are either A or B as i said i can't imagine that any of them were near the next bracket as looking at sale prices even 6 or so years ago they were in the line of the 35k-40k mark so very low. IF it doesn't change and we stay a C then fair enough but if we can get it knocked to a B then great..
    I have just rung the valuation office and spoke to them, the woman said that we were only actually banded properly on the 15th Of October even though we moved a month before then and so therefore have until the 15th of April to appeal otherwise we would have been out of the 6 month time limit..So i am awaiting the form!
    Now question is the best way to word it..any ideas please!
  • Altarf
    I have just rung the valuation office and spoke to them, the woman said that we were only actually banded properly on the 15th Of October even though we moved a month before then and so therefore have until the 15th of April to appeal otherwise we would have been out of the 6 month time limit..So i am awaiting the form!
    Now question is the best way to word it..any ideas please!
    Originally posted by gabyjane
    If you are within the 6 months then use the web appeal form. You only have a limited number of words, so keep it simple. As you are in time to appeal, then if they knock you back on the web appeal then you will have a further opportunity to write to them.
  • Sidwell
    You cannot use the house values shown on the Nationwide calculator as VOA will not accept them.
    I quoted them and was told they want actual sales details.
    I tried getting the actual sales details used by VOA under the Freedom of Information Act, but they claimed the information could not be disclosed.
    Does anyone know of any other source of this infomtion, which is acceptable to VOA?
  • Altarf
    As I said earlier in the thread, visit your local library and check the newspaper archive. You should be able to find examples of similar properties to yours and the advertised prices from that time. As properties at the time were not selling for more than advertised price, you can use those prices as a maximum.
  • lincroft1710
    Sidwell - you can get 1991 sale prices from VOA, but ONLY if you have made a valid appeal against your Council Tax band. The VOA have the prices so if you were not able to make a valid appeal, you should say to them - "Without disclosing specific addresses what were x bed houses of same size as mine in my street and 2/3 either side selling for in 1991". When I worked for VOA I would tell taxpayers that "x bed houses of same or slightly smaller size sold for between a and a+, within your road/next road".

    Altarf's has given sound advice if you want to try to find the evidence yourself. The asking price however may not be helpful for your case if the actual sale price was a few k less, e.g 70k (Band D) asking, but sold for 67.5k (Band C).
  • Sidwell
    Altarf- thanks for your useful comments. I have moved out of the area so cannot visit local library.
    lioncroft1710- I made a PROPOSAL but that was rejected as I had been owner over 6 months. However, Banding was reviewed and told Band E was correct.
    When I pointed out 2 identical houses opposite were Band D the VOA said that they were unable to determine why the bandings were reduced. They also quoted the Actual Sales prices in 1991 point.
    I will try your suggestion regarding Sales Prices again but surely 'unable to determine' is not a valid excuse?
  • lincroft1710
    I would guess that the caseworker who reduced the bands of the houses opposite didn't put in writing why they were reduced. Present caseworker may also have more evidence which leads them to believe Band E is correct, or can see no logical reason why these houses had bands reduced.

    In the early days of Council Tax bands were sometimes reduced incorrectly because of incomplete investigation or because of incorrect facts. If this has happened with houses opp then caseworker would be correct in not reducing your band.
  • Sidwell
    Lincroft-1710 Thanks for your further comments. I will try your earlier suggestion to get some idea of the sales value during 1991.
  • arunadasi
    I've just written my letter to the local VOA but wanted to chack back with you all before delivering it (the office is just down the road from me).

    I'm in a third floor, 2 bedroom flat in a block of 10 Victorian terraces, all converted into flats.

    All the other Third Story flats in my block are in Band B or Band A, including the identical, mirror-image flat next to my own (Band B). My own flat is in Band C.

    So the neighbour check passes the test easily.
    The valuation check is a bit dodgy, though.
    Using the Nationwide calculator, I get a value of just over 53000 for my flat in 1991, which puts it just over the limit into Band C.

    It's possible, though, that I overpaid for my flat back in 2004. It's in a very desirable area and the house market here at that time was booming.

    What are my chances of being rebanded? I certainly don't want to have all the other flats in the block going up!
    Last edited by arunadasi; 31-12-2008 at 7:47 AM.
  • Altarf
    At the moment all you have is evidence of a mistake, that is yours is a C, other flats are B or A. What you have is no proof of which is right.

    If you send in a letter pointing out the anomaly without any further evidence (and mentioning the Nationwide calculator is going to harm your case not help it) and ask that they investigate. They may then re-band all of your neighbours upwards; re-band you downwards; or if they believe that you are in the correct band but your neighbours are not, in certain circumstances they can leave everything as it is (it may be unfair but they are allowed to do this).

    The problem with doing this is that if they come back and say that you are in the correct band and everyone else is wrong (irrespective of what they do about it), you have nothing to come back at them with.

    Doing a bit more research (why are some flats A and some B, what are the differences? what were the flats (or similar in the area) being sold for back in 1991 using the newspaper archive at your library), which shouldn't take an awful lot of work. It took a couple of hours for me to find the information for my case that was successful, which given the refund I got worked out at a great hourly rate.

    Even if what you find doesn't prove definitive then you can still fall back on "why is my flat C, when the others are B" and chance your arm. If you do, I wouldn't mention it to my neighbours though...
  • arunadasi
    Thanks. What I don't quite understand is how to do this research. The only place where house prices are published (as far as I know) is in the estate agent's weekly supplement of our local newspaper. Is this what you mean? Do they even keep these supplements?
    Last edited by arunadasi; 31-12-2008 at 5:52 PM.
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