On 1st April 2007, Land and Property Services (LPS) was established as an Executive Agency within the Department of Finance and Personnel for Northern Ireland. The intention to create the Agency was announced in the Review of Public Administration in March 2006. The Agency was initially established on 1st April 2007 from the merger of the former Rate Collection Agency (RCA) and the Valuation and Lands Agency (VLA). This was followed by the addition of Land Registers of Northern Ireland (LRNI) and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) on 1st April 2008.
LPS has 6 main functions:
• To maintain a domestic and non-domestic rating assessment system.
• To collect and recover rates on behalf of the regional government and district councils in Northern Ireland.
• To deliver a valuation, estate management and property data service to the public sector.
• To record legal interests in land and provide a registration service which keeps an accurate register of land ownership with related maps and other information.
• To provide a land information service for conveyancing purposes.
• To collect and manage spatial data in Northern Ireland and disseminate for use throughout the public and private sectors.
In Northern Ireland rates are a property tax based on the valuation of the property and the money raised is used to fund both local and regional services. Domestic rates apply to residential properties and are based on the capital value of the house as at 1st January 2005. They must be paid on every occupied residential property although it is planned to introduce the rating of empty homes from 1st October 2011. Business rates apply to all non-domestic properties such as offices, factories and shops and are based on the rental value (known as the net annual value or NAV) of the property as at 1st April 2001. If a property has a mixed use, such as a shop with a flat attached, each part is assessed separately for rates. There are over 814,000 entries on th