Live Rateable Value (Live RV)
Find out what’s changed, why it’s changed and how it will affect your charges.
Since April 2018, the water industry has been moving towards using the most up-to-date Rateable Value (RV) as the basis for charging for all properties after a change announced by The Scottish Government.
What does this mean for you?
Water, sewerage and drainage charges are payable by owners and occupiers of all non-household properties which are connected to the public network in Scotland.
Water retailers, like Business Stream, use your property’s Rateable Value (RV) to calculate your property and roads drainage charges and your water and waste water charges, if your property doesn’t have a meter installed.
The RV previously used to calculate your charges was previously based on historic valuations, which in some cases dated back to 1995.
As a result of this change, some customers may see an increase in their charges, however, to minimise the impact this change will have, the unit rate you’re charged for your new RV will reduce by approximately 25%.
To allow you to plan for the full impact, the changes have been phased in over a three year period. Your charges will change in equal cash instalments each year; this is referred to as your charge glide path, you can see details of this below:
Two thirds of your charge are based on your property’s historic RV and unit rate and one third are based on your property’s live RV and the new unit rate for impacted charges.
One third of your charge will be based on your property’s historic RV and unit rate and two thirds based on your property’s live RV and the new unit rate for impacted charges.
From April 2020
Your charges will be based on your property’s live RV and the new unit rate.
We’re here to help
You can use our online calculator below, to help you assess how these changes will impact your charges. It's important you choose the correct option if your property is metered or unmetered, if you're unsure you'll be able to check this on your bill. The results will show you all possible RV-based charges that may appear on your bill - you may not be liable for all these charges. You can check your latest bill to see which charges apply to your property.
What is a Rateable Value (RV)?
The Rateable Value (RV) is an assessment of the value of a property made by the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA). All properties in Scotland were revalued in April 2017, and the new values are being used to calculate business rates for this year. You can find your RV by visiting the SAA website.
Are there any alternatives to being charged on Rateable Value?
If a water meter can be fitted to your water supply, you can be charged for the actual water that is used by your business. If a water meter can’t be fitted, then the charges can be based on an assessment of the water that your business uses. You can find out more about applying for a meter or a reassessment of charges here.
There is currently no alternative to using Rateable Value as the basis for property and roads drainage charges.
What will the impact on my charges be?
You can use our calculator above to find out what your charges will be over your three year charge glide path.
Do all customers need to follow the phased charging approach?
Yes. The phased charging profile was determined by the Scottish Government and all retailers have to comply with this agreed approach.
What will the new unit rate be?
The new unit rate has reduced by approximately 25% for property and roads drainage and unmeasured water and waste water charges. Our calculator uses these rates, so you can assess the impact on your bill based on your Live RV, you’ll also be able to find them in our charging statement.
What happens if my Rateable Value changes during the transition period?
If your RV changes as the result of an appeal, your RV will be amended and your charge glide path will be recalculated.
If your RV changes because you extend your premises or demolish part of your premises, this will also result in your charge glide path being recalculated.
Any other changes to your property, such as merging it with neighbouring premises, dividing it into multiple units or where a premise undergoes complete redevelopment, will end the glide path and the charges will be based on the revised Live RV.
If I move to another retailer will I still be affected by this change?
Yes, this is a Scottish Government initiative so all retailers have to adopt this change.
Where can I find out more information?
You can find out more by visiting the Scottish Government’s website.
Is it possible to make a saving on my bill?
You can find out if you could make a saving on your bill by getting an instant quote online here. If you have a water meter, our website has lots of hints and tips to help you become more water efficient, which could save you even more money on your bills. Alternatively, if your property doesn’t have a meter installed, you may want to consider reassessment.
Will Scottish Water or Water Retailers get more money from this change?
No. This is not a revenue raising measure for the water industry. To ensure the business community does not pay more for their services, the unit rate you’re charged for your new RV will reduce by approximately 25%.
Will these changes affect charities?
If you are granted full exemption, you will not be affected by these changes.
If you receive partial exemption, your charges will change. You can use the calculator above to assess your estimated annual charges, but please note that the calculation won’t include the exemption discount.
Remember, whether you are granted full or partial exemption, you need to apply for exemption each year, you can do this here.
My property is part commercial and part domestic – how does this affect me?
From 2014, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland and Scottish Water introduced a policy which stated all "part-residential" properties should be classed as fully "non-household" for their water and waste water charges. Therefore, you should not receive any water charges as part of your council tax bill, instead your property should be billed for your water charges by your retailer, Business Stream. It's important to check your council tax bill to ensure it doesn't include water charges and if it does, you'll be able to get a refund on these charges from your local council.
It's possible the current rateable value you're being billed on has not been updated to include the residential part of your property but your new/live rateable value will have this included so it may be higher than you expect it to be. You'll continue to be part billed on your historic rateable value, which will not change, throughout the phased charging approach set out above but you'll eventually be fully charged on your Live Rateable value which ensures all "part-residential" properties are billed on an equal basis.
What do I do if I think my SAA reference number is wrong?
Why is my property not following the charge glide path?
If there’s a change to your property, it’s possible your property will move straight onto being charged on your Live Rateable value. Possible scenarios where this occurs include:
- Your property has been split or merged with another property
- Your property is redeveloped
- Your property gets a meter installed (or removed)
- Your property moves to reassessed charges
- Your property becomes (or stops being) part residential
- Your property was connected to Scottish Water’s networks after 1 April 2018
Please note, these changes are decided and implemented by The Scottish Government as part of the Live RV initiative.