Law linking commercial rates to rent ‘devastating’ rural Ireland

Changes a ‘conspiracy against struggling rural businesses’, say professional body Ipav

Rates being applied to a property should reflect the income being achieved from it, Ipav says. Photograph: iStock

Rates being applied to a property should reflect the income being achieved from it, Ipav says. Photograph: iStock

 

The aim of linking commercial rates to rent under a law introduced in 2015 has been unsuccessful and “is having a devastating impact on rural Ireland”, a professional body has said.

In advance of its appearance at an Oireachtas committee on Tuesday, the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers said that rates being applied to a property should reflect the income being achieved from it, as was the intention of the Valuation (Amendment) Act 2015. However, according to Ipav chief executive Pat Davitt, that isn’t happening.

Mr Davitt said the passing of the amendment to the 2015 Act was a “travesty” as it abolished the ability to make a second appeal on a property’s valuation to the valuation office.

He said this change, alongside others, “completely undermined one of the most important intentions” of the amendment, namely “to treat all rate payers in a fair way”.

“Effectively these changes marked a conspiracy against struggling businesses in rural Ireland, ” he said.

Ipav noted that when rates were revalued, the State’s purse remained the same, “notwithstanding the fact of a devastating recession”. The organisation said its members experienced falls in their turnover of about 50 per cent and gained nothing from the re-evaluation process.

Ipav also criticised remarks by the Minister of State for Housing John Paul Phelan that indicated an intention to dispense with an allowance for property owners of an unoccupied commercial building.

It said the removal of the allowance would be “extremely damaging” and demonstrated the “gulf that exists between policymakers and the reality of doing business in rural Ireland”.