House inspectors to revalue houses for Council Tax purposes

The Sunday Times reports that the government is preparing to train hundreds of inspectors to “snoop” on households, undermining ministers’ claims to have put the revaluation of millions of homes for Council Tax on hold.

Training manuals have been printed instructing staff how to identify marketable features of homes and how to score them so the homes can be put into a higher band.

The handbooks, disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act and in parliamentary answers, make suggestions to inspectors that they look for homes in “small pleasant rural villages”, “within the catchment area of a very popular school” or in a town with “good leisure, parks, schools and recreation facilities”.

Documents also show that staff at the Valuation Office, an arm of HM Revenue & Customs, are preparing to log marketable features such as conservatories, gardens, loft conversions, parking spaces, extra bedrooms and swimming pools.

Army of snoopers to revalue homes (Sunday Times, 19 August 2007)