Pubs warned over rogue business rates agents

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Negotiation

Eye on the Trade: Pubs being targeted by rogue agents
Eye on the Trade: Pubs being targeted by rogue agents
Pub property agent Fleurets has reported that certain areas are being targeted by rogue business rates agents, causing problems for the company when putting forward genuine claims.

It comes as licensees are once again being warned about losing hundreds of pounds to rogue agents asking for money up front to put in an appeal for their business rates.

The most recent case that Fleurets has been aware of is in Bristol, where out of 11 licensees, the company found seven that had already been hit by a rogue agent.

A rogue agent will usually guarantee a publican’s money back if they are unsuccessful in submitting a business rates appeal.

However, this only means filling in a form, not negotiating appeals.

A licensee can only make one business rates appeal at the same pub within a five-year period.

Fleurets chairman Barry Gillham said: “It is making it more difficult for genuine surveyors to get business rates appeals discussed.

“It’s a double whammy (for licensees), and even worse if your rates should be reduced because you either won’t get the reduction or you’ll get it at a slower pace.”

Jim Yarwood, head of ratings at Fleurets, said that rogue agents target areas where there are “enthusiastic door knockers”.

He added: “You can make an appeal quite easily — it’s just filling in a form. But saving some money through negotiations is the second stage. The rogue agents will try to confuse the two so that the licensee thinks that making an appeal means they could save some money.”

Yarwood advised publicans never to pay for anything up front, and that most pub companies will provide a free business rates service.

“Never sign anything on the day,” he added.

“Tell them that you will think about it and call them back.

“I’d imagine that they would get a bit angry, so that’s a good way to judge a rogue agent.”

Have you been targeted by a rogue agent in your area? Email thewvg.qrtha@jeoz.pbz​ with your story.

Related topics Property law

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