Can a valuation which includes a Valuation Uncertainty Clause be relied upon?

19 April 2020

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A client has asked whether a valuation which includes a Valuation Uncertainty clause in respect of Covid 19 can be relied upon. Director Elizabeth Hill responds.

The RICS are very clear in their guidance that it can.

As the RICS Guidance on Valuation states, the clause should be used to bring to the client’s attention the fact that, whilst a valuer is able to form an opinion of value, they are doing so in an environment which is abnormal.  This does not mean that those members are currently unable to value - valuation under these circumstances provides a key function to support markets and stakeholders. However, ‘if a failure to draw attention to material uncertainty gave a client the impression that greater weight could be attached to the opinion than was warranted, the report would be misleading’ (VPS 3.2.2 (o)). These decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis. 

At present there is limited access to current comparable evidence and most of the deals that are completing are in respect of properties that had been fully inspected and marketed prior to the imposition of movement restrictions.

A valuer cannot be expected to predict how long Covid 19 restrictions are going to last; however, their valuation should have regard to market sentiment.  The intention of a valuation uncertainty clause is to facilitate the flow of valuation information and should not be used by a valuer to avoid making a judgement on risk.

Mansford has expanded its investment portfolio over the last few years. Over this time Andrew West has provided us with a full rating valuation service which has involved giving a view on liabilities prior to acquisitions, as well as conducting negotiations with Valuation Officers on our UK estate. The portfolio includes a wide range of properties from shops, offices and pubs to major leisure schemes. He has been particularly successful in mitigating our liabilities to empty property rate, which has been an issue on acquisition prior to implementing our development and letting strategy. I have no hesitation in recommending Andrew's expertise in rating valuation for all property types. The profile of property within his portfolio and the successes achieved are testament to his position as an extremely accomplished rating practitioner.

Leopold Hall, Partner, Mansford LLP