Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (362)

Martin Heydon

Question:

362. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the level of delay being experienced in the Valuation Office appeals system; the steps being taken to address backlogs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52378/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Valuation Tribunal is an independent body under the Valuation Acts of 1988 and 2001. It deals with appeals against decisions of the Commissioner of Valuation on the valuation of commercial properties for rating purposes and appeals against determinations of market value on derelict sites or vacant sites made by local authorities under the Derelict Sites Act 1990 and the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015.

The Tribunal currently comprises 31 members.

The tribunal has experienced unprecedented levels of appeals in recent years in the context of the National Revaluation Programme being carried out by the independent Commissioner for Valuation. This has resulted in a significant number of appeals on hands at the tribunal. A number of measures have been taken in order to support the processing of appeals by the Tribunal and more are planned. The Tribunal has recently updated its rules and a new Registrar has recently been appointed to, inter alia, lead on this modernization agenda.

Furthermore, one of the new provisions introduced under the Valuation (Amendment) Act, 2015 is that appeals may be determined by a single member of the Tribunal based on written documentation obviating the need to holding a hearing. The Tribunal has identified a number of appeals suitable for disposal in this manner which should ensure that many appeals can be dealt with expeditiously. This process has commenced.

The Tribunal introduced a call over system to facilitate a more efficient listing of appeals and ensure better use of the Tribunal time. The call over system alerts the Tribunal to appeals that may be resolved, identifies cases that are ready to proceed so that hearing dates can be assigned and affords the chairperson or deputy chairperson an opportunity to discuss the progress of appeal with the parties’ representatives and give to such directions as may be warranted to the parties to progress the appeal. The introduction of the call over system has made a positive impact on the efficient listing of appeals and is kept under constant review.

The further streamlining of appeals is a major priority for 2020.