Appeal No. VA06/2/079
AN BINSE LUACHÁLA
Celtic Bookmakers APPELLANT
RE: Betting Office at Lot No. 65a, Main Street, Mallow,
Mallow North Urban, Mallow UD, County Cork
B E F O R E
JUDGMENT OF THE VALUATION TRIBUNAL
By Notice of Appeal dated the 7th day of June, 2006 the appellant appealed against the determination of the Commissioner of Valuation in fixing a rateable valuation of €70.00 on the above described relevant property.
The Grounds of Appeal as set out in the Notice of Appeal are:
"On the basis that the RV as assessed is excessive, inequitable and bad in law - it was not fixed in accordance with the established tone of the list. The method of establishment of the NAV was incorrect and not in accordance with established practice. Additionally the revision officer failed to take the local comparisons into account despite the occupier's reps & appeal."
The appeal proceeded by way of an oral hearing held in the offices of the Valuation Tribunal, Ormond House, Ormond Quay Upper, Dublin 7 on the 19th September 2006. At the hearing the Appellant was represented by Mr. Eamonn Halpin, B.Sc. (Surveying), A.S.C.S., M.R.I.C.S., M.I.A.V.I. and the Respondent was represented by Mr. Terence Dineen, B. Agr. Sc., a District Valuer with the Valuation Office.
Each representative, having taken the oath, adopted his written précis and valuation, which had previously been received by the Tribunal and exchanged with the other party, as his evidence-in-chief. Mr. Halpin, in doing so, adopted the areas calculated by the respondent, i.e. a total floor area of 72.75 sq. metres.
Relevant dates this revision
In support of his opinion of NAV Mr. Halpin introduced 3 comparisons, all located in Davis Street, Mallow and two of which were common comparisons - see details at Appendix 1 to this Judgment. In his written and oral evidence Mr. Halpin made the following case in relation to quantum:
1. The unit is on the ground floor of a building that is generally moderate
in condition. The layout being long and narrow is also somewhat of a limiting
Mr. Halpin stressed that the only change to the subject property since it was a bank is that it was now fitted out as a bookmaker's office. The upper floors were vacant and available for letting. He said that the Valuation Office had applied Zone A levels of €273 per sq. metre on the better part of the street and had applied Zone A levels of €245 per sq. metre on the two common comparisons, Boylesports and Bayfield Supplies, which he said was correct as these levels reflected the inferior location at the poorer end of the street. However, these properties were much better, newly constructed premises than the subject, more modern and with much larger street frontages. Nevertheless, the subject property was valued higher than each of these. The fact that one building further along the street was boarded up and another had collapsed and was now a derelict site was indicative of the condition of this end of the street which, though improving, was still the poorer end. His rental analysis showed that the rent on the subject was exceptionally high compared with the rent on the two common comparisons and for that reason it would be dangerous to rely on rents and, in any case, it was not necessary to do so as there was comparative evidence on the street.
Examined by Mr. Dineen, Mr. Halpin accepted that the RV before improvement and change of use was €66 and that the basis of the current valuation was the same as the basis of the 1994 valuation with different areas but he said it was possible that the building was in better condition in 1994 than it is now. He did not accept that €66 was established as the tone of the list. He noted from the Valuation Office 1994 notebook extract in Mr. Dineen's précis that the subject property was then described as comparing poorly with the ACC premises but that it was, nevertheless, valued at the same level. The subject still compared poorly with the ACC premises. Mr. Dineen asserted that the upper floors of the property would never be let because the staircase had been removed to enhance the value of the ground floor and access to the upper floors was now through a phone company's premises. Mr. Halpin said he could not comment on that apart from saying that the removal of the staircase had not given much increase in the width of the property. The gain was about one metre only. While he agreed that the removal of the staircase might be an improvement of a kind he maintained that the tone established by the Valuation Office in recent valuations was lower than the levels on the subject which were an anomaly. He accepted that the distance between the subject and the ACC premises was only 29 metres but said it was across a road and a short distance can make a difference to value. ACC was at the better end of the street. He further agreed that both the subject and the ACC premises were valued at €273 per sq. metre in 1994 but said they were not comparable for a location point of view.
1. Display Window 3.52 sq. metres @ €273 per sq. metre = €960.96
Mr. Dineen said the rent on the subject was a standard rent and that his analysis of the rents and the NAVs of the subject and on the two comparisons showed the subject at the lowest 1988 NAV/rent ratio of the three. He said he had submitted four methods of valuation but his preferred method was the first one which was also the basis used in 1994. There was no "bank" premium on the subject in 1994 and premiums on banks were now discontinued. In May 2005 the Trustee Savings Bank had been replaced by Celtic Bookmakers in the subject property, improvements had been made to it and the rateable valuation on the portion of the property now occupied by Celtic Bookmakers increased by €4 from €66 to €70. This resulted from an increase in area of 4.75 sq. metres, all in the front zone. He confirmed that the staircase had been removed which took away access to the upper floor offices from the street and no tenant had yet been found for the upper floors nor, in his view, was it likely that it would be let.
He introduced five comparisons, details of which are set out in Appendix 2 to this judgment. He confirmed that the 1994 valuation on the subject and the more recent valuations on his two common comparisons had not been appealed.
Mr. Halpin then questioned Mr. Dineen about the areas used by him for zoning purposes in his second valuation method and he and Mr. Dineen disagreed about these areas and also about the appropriate zoning method, with Mr. Halpin relying on the guidelines of the Chartered Institute of Surveyors and Mr. Dineen relying on the Valuation Office's own zoning method. Mr. Dineen accepted that he had erred in zoning through the solid wall - against standard practice in both the CSI and the Valuation Office zoning methods - and thereby including the office portion at the rear of the subject in Zone B. He also accepted that the valuations on the two common comparisons had not been fixed by reference to the rents.
And the Tribunal so determines.