Foxtons to do Council Tax Revaluations

Agent selected by Hounslow to calculate new bands

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Hounslow Council have announced a tie-up with a Chiswick based estate agent to make the valuations on which new Council Tax bands will be determined. The groundbreaking deal will be the first time that a private-sector company has handled property valuations for a local authority.

Although officially plans for the revaluation of homes in England are on hold the Council is planning ahead to ensure that they get through the process as quickly as possible. The exercise will be the most comprehensive audit of property in this country since the Doomsday Book.

Avril Amadan, a spokesperson for Hounslow Council hailed the agreement offering benefits for all parties involved, "Rather than burdening the Council Tax payer with the cost of valuing all the properties in the borough we decided to accept Foxton's kind offer of doing the job on a commission only basis."

Under the arrangement with the Council Foxton's will get 10% of the extra tax generated should their valuations move a property into a higher tax band.

Imelia Panzonfir said that Foxton's were committed to doing a good job for the Council. "During the tax revaluation in Wales only one in three houses saw their banding increase and very few increased more than one band. We can do much better than that."

The project will involve the valuation of up to 90,000 homes across the borough and Foxton's are already gearing up to do the job by ordering another 300 minis which will be based at their Chiswick Business Park offices. To enable them to visit homes throughout the area all the cars will be given a borough-wide parking permit which will enable them to park for free in any residents' parking zone or car park.

The appointment of Foxton's to carry out the project has brought an angry response from other local estate agents. There are concerns that knowing the rateable value of every property in the area will give them an unfair competitive advantage. The Council say there is no need for concern on this matter as Foxton's have promised them that they will not keep any records.

The firm will be given access to 'spy-in-the-sky' satellite technology which will enable them to view homes that they are not given access to. This will enable them to conduct an audit on behalf of the Council of conservatories and loft extensions that have been built without proper planning approval.

1st April, 2006