Councils issue completion notices for properties that are new or that have had substantial structural alterations.  The notice lets you know when a council thinks that any work on your property is finished or will be substantially finished. There will be a date on the completion notice. From that date, your property will be eligible for council tax.

If you think that the work on the property is not finished, and won’t be finished by the date on the completion notice, you can appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal.  The Tribunal is completely independent of the council and the Valuation Office Agency.

With any notice of hearing we send you after 1 April 2017 you will receive standard directions which you must follow. These explain the exchange of evidence that takes place between you and the VOA listing officer. Please read the directions and the guidance.

The flow chart shows you the stages in making a completion notice appeal and getting a Tribunal decision. Click on any of the blue boxes to find out more.

Appeals against completion notices image map

You may appeal against it but you must contact us within 4 weeks of receiving the notice.

You only need to have received a completion notice that you disagree with to appeal to us.

You must send us an appeal form within 4 weeks of receiving the notice. You must appeal in writing and enclose a copy of the notice. You can do that here or if you prefer to download a form and complete it offline you can do so by following this link.  If you have received more than one notice you must appeal against each on a separate form.

The panel will be interested in the exact state the property was in when the council served the completion notice. You can support your appeal by:

  • showing photographs
  • giving a list of the work that still needed to be done when you received the completion notice
  • telling the panel how many days you think that it would have taken to finish when you received the completion notice.

You may want to continue talking to the council about the notice to see if you can reach a settlement with them. If you do reach an agreement, please let us know.

At least six weeks before the hearing date you will receive the council’s full case. This will include their arguments, evidence, legislation, case law and documents that they will refer to at the hearing. If you do not hear from them, your appeal will be decided on the basis of what you said in and included with your appeal form and the council’s decision to you (if you received one).

Any evidence and argument that was not included in your appeal form and any response to the council’s case that you wish the Tribunal to consider must be sent to the council at least four weeks before the hearing.

You could attend another hearing before yours to see what happens. Please contact us if you would like to do this.

Nearer the day, if we can, we will give you an idea of the time when your appeal might be heard.

You may decide not to carry on with your appeal at any time. If you do decide to withdraw your appeal, please let us know. You can use this form or email us.

You may –

• request a postponement if you have a good reason for not being able to attend on the day; or
• appoint a representative to present your case for you.

It is always better if you can come to the hearing so that you can answer any questions that the panel might have and so you can ask the other party questions. However, there are other options –

• Appeal heard in absence procedure. This is when the appellant is not present at a hearing, but has submitted a written case to the Tribunal to be considered at a hearing where the other party will be present. The written evidence should be sent to the Tribunal and to all other parties 14 days in advance of the hearing date. For more information, please read Practice Statement B3 Appellant’s Non-Attendance.

• Decision without hearing procedure. In these cases, the parties have agreed that neither of them will be present at a hearing, and the Valuation Tribunal has agreed that this procedure can be used. The Tribunal will direct the parties to submit a written statement of case to the Tribunal and all other parties by a specified date. For more information, please read Practice Statement A6, Decision without a Hearing.

The hearing is as informal as possible and we will try to put everyone at ease, but these are judicial proceedings and a degree of formality is inevitable.

The panel will follow a procedure set out in Practice Statement B1: Model Procedure.

The panel will decide who will put their case first, but if you would prefer to give your case first or second, please let us know.

During the hearing:
• the panel will ask you and the council to present your cases;
• you will be able to ask the council questions;
• the council will be able to ask you questions; and
• the panel and the clerk can ask you and the council questions.

Before the panel retires to make its decision, it will ask you if you would like to summarise your case (in other words, go over the main points of your case again).

 

The panel will make its decision based on the evidence and argument presented to it, bearing in mind what the law (legislation and case law) allows. The panel will retire at the end of the hearing to deliberate and will call the clerk in to provide legal advice and to help draft the reasons for the decision. However, the clerk takes no part in the making of the decision.

The Tribunal’s decision is not announced at the hearing. A decision notice is sent to you, usually within one month of the hearing.

When we receive your appeal we send you a Notice of Acknowledgement and a guidance booklet.

We set the date for your hearing and send you a Notice of Hearing

We may send you a Hearing Reminder Notice or we will contact you by phone/email

We send you a Notice of Decision and a guidance booklet

Relevant legislation

Local Government Finance Act 1988, gives the general law. Schedule 4A applies to completion notice appeals.

Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009  SI 2009 No 2269

Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2009  SI 2009 No 2268

These set out the rules under which we have to deal with any appeals.

Please remember that some parts of this legislation have changed and there may be further changes.  You will need to check that the legislation you use is up to date.  Larger public and law libraries hold copies of legislation.  You can also see legislation on the website www.legislation.gov.uk.

If you want to appeal, you must do so within four weeks of receiving the completion notice. You must send us a copy of the completion notice.

If you receive more than one completion notice, you must send a separate appeal form for each one.

You can complete and submit a form online by clicking here, or you can download one to fill in offline by following this link. Or we can send you one if you contact us.

We aim to list completion notice appeals to a hearing date that is within 6 months of the date we receive your appeal.

The Tribunal will be interested in the exact state the property was in when the council served the completion notice. You can support your appeal by:

  • showing photographs
  • giving a list of the work that still needed to be done when you received the completion notice
  • telling the Tribunal how many days you think that it would have taken to finish when you received the completion notice.