The Assessor is responsible for the preparation and maintenance of the Council Tax Valuation List, which places each domestic property (“dwelling”) in one of eight valuation bands. The band reflects the Assessors opinion of the property’s open market value as at 1 April 1991, but taking account of its physical state and its locality as at 1 April 1993 (or, for new dwellings, the date of valuation) and subject to a number of important statutory assumptions. Council Tax replaced the Community Charge (Poll Tax) on 1 April 1993 as the way households contribute to the cost of local authority services.
Prior to the introduction of Council Tax (and before the Poll Tax) the Assessor was responsible for domestic property rating and maintained a detailed database of information about houses in the whole of Grampian. This information included details of accommodation, floor areas, outbuildings, improvements etc as well as actual selling prices recorded in the Register of Sasines (Land Register). Although not every property was inspected prior to the introduction of Council Tax the Assessor’s records were comprehensive and were updated to reflect changes which had occurred during the four-year “Poll Tax” era.
The Assessor does not rely on house price indices to adjust sale prices over time. Unless the index takes account of the specific features of local market conditions prevailing at the relevant dates, price adjustment in this way will be inaccurate. The assessor applies the Comparative Principle of Valuation. This relies on comparing the physical and geographic etc features of the property to be valued with those of houses which actually sold around the valuation date (1 April 1991).
The Assessor is not required to place an actual value on each property but has to demonstrate that its likely sale price would have been within the range of values in the relevant band. Due to the range of values in each band properties which are not identical in terms of accommodation or size can still be in the same band. Therefore a two or three bedroomed flat can easily be in the same Band as a similar semi-detached or terraced house.