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How to check your council tax banding - Part 2

Posted 23 September 2015 by Shelley Bowers

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Are you paying the right amount of council tax? Find out how to check your banding with us.

Yesterday, in part 1, we showed you how to check what your current council tax band is. Today, in part 2, we’ll continue on with the journey, looking at how you can compare your council tax to your neighbours and discovering what your property was worth way back in 1991.

Step 2. Compare and gather evidence

Now you need to find out what bands the other properties in your street are in, to compare against yours. This is easy, just look at what bands the other properties are on your street as you look for yours and you’ll easily see which are in the same band and which are different.

As you can see from the list above, if you live at numbers 1, 2, 4, 6 or 8 Allesley Drive you are in council tax band B, but if you live at number 3, 5 or 10 you are in band A. So, if your property is number 2, it’d be worth looking at numbers 3, 5 and 10 to see if they are the same as yours.

Now, you can’t automatically assume that your banding is wrong just because you see other properties on your street with different bandings – there may be a good reason for it. For example, if there’s been any major work done, such as demolishing or constructing extra rooms, or converting a house into flats, the value of the property will have changed. In fact, the full list of changes that can affect a property’s banding includes:

·         “you demolish part of your property and don’t rebuild it

·         you alter your property to create 2 or more self-contained units, eg an annexe - each unit will have its own band

·         you split a single property into self-contained flats

·         you convert flats into a single property

·         you start or stop working from home

·         there are significant changes to your local area, like a new road being built”

 

So, as much as you can without getting yourself in trouble for trespassing, you need to check to see how similar your property is to those in the lower band. If you can’t see any major differences, it’d be worth checking to see what number 2 was valued at in 1991 (see Step 3 below), if you didn’t own it at that time. If it was valued at roughly the same amount as numbers 3, 5 and 10, the different banding doesn’t make much sense and may be worth challenging.

To sum up, if you see that all the properties on your street are in the same band, great! You can be pretty sure your banding is correct too, and there’s no need to challenge it. If you see that there are a few properties similar in size and construction to yours that are in a lower band that you then you might want to consider challenging it. And, if you see that most of the properties on your street are in a higher banding than yours, you want to consider keeping quiet about it. Remember, a review of your band may end up in all the other properties on the street being moved up to match yours, rather than yours being lowered to match theirs.  

Step 3. Finding what your property was worth in 1991

To find out what your property, and the others on your street, were worth in 1991, you first need to find out what they are worth now. You can do this on Zoopla and Rightmove, both of which will allow you to check what house prices are today. Now, you need to dial them back to what they would have been in 1991 and you can do this using this handy house price calculator provided by the Nationwide.

If you see that your property was worth roughly the same as the others on your street, you have evidence for arguing that your band be lowered to match the others. So, make sure you note down, print out the page or screen shot the information, so you can refer to it, if you need to.  

 

Okay, go away digest that and come back tomorrow for the final part, where we’ll show you what happens when you challenge your council tax bands. 

by Shelley Bowers

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