With new rateable values set to take effect from 1 April, Ei will be writing to all of its licensees to provide contact details for three financial experts: Colliers International, Harris Lamb and Lambert Smith Hampton.
All the advisers will be working on a payment for success basis, so a fee will only be due if a reduction in rates is negotiated.
Seek expert advice
Analysis from Ei has shown that rateable values are set to increase on average across its estate, however, the company is urging all licensees, even those that see a reduction in rates, to seek expert advice.
"Even if a pub receives a reduction in rates, that doesn’t automatically mean that that the new level shouldn’t be reviewed and potentially appealed as, in some cases, the proposed reductions should be a lot bigger," said Simon Millar, estates director at Ei.
"We recognise that the changes to business rates will be a concern to our publicans and we are determined to offer them the best support possible to help them navigate their way through the appeals process.
"In the past, we have heard of circumstances of publicans being cold-called by perhaps less scrupulous advisers, which is really not how we would prefer our publicans to be accessing business rates advice.
"Some of these less reputable firms give a relatively poor service and take a large up-front, non-returnable, fee from publicans. We’ve decided to work with a panel of three selected specialist firms to support our publicans in ensuring they are paying the correct amount for their business rates."
Rates causing pub closures
Ei's announcement follows on from increasing industry pressure on the Government to provide some form of transitional relief when the new business rates come into effect in April, with the ALMR (Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers) writing to the chancellor.
Meanwhile, BBC research has found that one in five pub closures in England and Wales over the past six years was as a result of business rates.