Business rates: Why are estate agents treated differently to bakers and tanning shops, demands Propertymark

Industry association wants agents to write letters to their MPs as a matter of urgency as it lobbies friendly politicians and civil servants.

estate agents

Propertymark has launched a campaign to persuade Chancellor Rishi Sunak to include estate agency branches in his recent decision to suspend business rates payment for millions of retail businesses across the UK.

Many estate agents were baffled on Thursday when Sunak revealed emergency business rates reduction measures for the high street by temporarily extending the government rates relief allowance to 100%.

But the measure did not include the A2 class of premises that cover estate agencies and other professional and financial services, instead covering just A1 (retail shops) and A3 (food and drink) categories.

Propertymark has been calling for reforms to business rates since January and it was a key part of our submission to the Budget,” an email sent out to member on Friday said.

“Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, Propertymark has written directly to the Chancellor and hounded Senior Civil Servants at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure estate and letting agents receive an exemption.

“Several MPs have raised the issue in Parliament and Propertymark is engaging with them to urge immediate action.”

Propertymark is now urging estate agents to contact their local MP and lobby them hard to change the Chancellor’s mind, using the following letter template.

“We are pushing the Ministry of Housing and the BEIS on this and it’s important for agents to lobby individual MPs alongside us,” a spokesperson said.

A North London agent has also launched a petition on the subject. Sign up here.

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]“Dear <>,

I’m contacting you as I’m very concerned that estate and letting agency offices have been omitted from a list of high street premises to be included with the widened range of business rates relief measures announced by the Government on 18 March in response to the Coronavirus threat.

Almost every type of high street premises is included within the scheme from supermarkets to bakers and also second-hand car lots, caravan showrooms, holiday homes and tanning shops. Hundreds of thousands of high street premises will be given extra help to pay their rates with an expanded retail discount of up to 100%.

However, estate and letting agencies are not included. Estate and letting agency offices have the same running costs as retail stores and are just as impacted by what’s going on as any other high street business.

The Government is predicting that coronavirus will impact for months which will likely lead to less viewings, increased complexity in managing tenancies and ultimately a loss in revenue.  There are thousands of jobs in the sector at risk and many more in our supply chain.

We have supported people find homes and now we need the Government to support us to stay open.   In order to help estate and letting agents on the high street please raise this issue in Parliament as a matter of urgency and ensure that the Government extend the business rates relief to estate and letting agency offices. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes, <>[/box]



What's your opinion?

Back to top button