The Valuation Appeal Committee
Most appeals are settled between the assessor and the ratepayer or appointed agent. If a settlement can't be reached, the appeal will be heard by an independent Valuation Appeal Committee (VAC). Committee members are appointed by the Sheriff Principal in your area.
The VAC will be made up of a chairperson, secretary and between 3 and 6 members. They are all completely independent of the assessor and your local council and have no prior knowledge of your case or that of the assessor.
The VAC hearing is a free service but you will have to pay your own costs, such as travel and professional fees, should you ask a rating agent, or other person, to represent you.
Before the hearing
You'll be given at least 10 weeks' notice of your hearing date. If your case is urgent, your hearing can be held earlier.
- appoint someone to represent you at the hearing - but you must let the VAC know
- bring a witness to the hearing
- present any relevant evidence to the committee - including anything discussed between you and the local assessor
What happens at the hearing?
Hearings are open to the public and usually last between 45 minutes and a day. The committee will decide who will present first. In most cases, this is usually the ratepayer.
You and the assessor will present your cases and you, the assessor and the panel can all ask questions. You may then be able to sum up your case before the panel makes a decision.
If you can't attend the hearing
The committee can decide on your case in different ways:
- Decision without a hearing - the appeal is based only on the written statements submitted by you and the assessor
- A hearing in your absence - you must submit any evidence you want the VAC to consider at least 14 days before the hearing. The assessor can still attend the hearing. If you don't inform the committee of your absence, they can dismiss your appeal.
The VAC secretary will post the decision and reasons to you. In some circumstances the VAC may also inform you of their decision at the hearing.
Appealing the decision
If you think that the VAC has made a mistake, you can make an appeal to the Lands Valuation Appeal Court. You must give notice in writing to the VAC secretary within 14 days of the decision date. You may also consider getting some legal advice.
Make a complaint against the VAC
To complain about the way the hearing was held:
- tell the VAC secretary during the hearing
- make a complaint in writing to the VAC secretary