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Completion notices

A completion notice confirms the date that a newly built property is to be entered in the Local Non-Domestic Rating List, which is when business rates becomes payable.

Where a commercial property is structurally complete, or where the work remaining can reasonably be expected to be completed within three months; a completion notice will be served on the owner of the property. The owner is defined as the person entitled to possession of the property.

A completion notice is issued in accordance with Section 46A and Schedule 4A Local Government Finance Act 1988

For properties not yet complete, but it has been identified that it can be completed within 3 months, a future completion date is provided. This is the timeframe that the building could reasonably be completed by. It is important to note that there is no requirement for actual completion by this date and you will be charged business rates from this date.

Before we issue a completion notice, a Council Inspector will visit the relevant building. An inspection form will be completed and evidence such as photographs may be obtained.

The property will have reached substantial completion once the structure of the building is complete. This is the basic shell and core, which includes the following:

  • Exterior walls
  • Entrance vestibule/lobby
  • Roofing/ceiling
  • Fire staircases
  • Windows
  • Structural partitioning
  • Terminal boxes
  • Heating/air conditioning
  • Lift/escalator shafts

Once a property has reached substantial completion, the Council look to issue a completion notice if the Fit-out work can be reasonably completed within three months. Fitting out could include:

  • Lighting and heating controls
  • Suspended flooring/ceilings
  • Ventilation
  • Toilets
  • Power cable distribution

You will be issued with a completion notice if you have reached the final Fit-out stage to complete works such as:

  • Non-structural partitioning
  • Enhanced flooring
  • Specialist lighting
  • Carpets
  • IT installations
  • Kitchen facilities

It is important to note, that the determination of completion for Building Control is substantially different to the criteria used for business rates. 

If you disagree with the completion notice or the completion date that has been specified, you can appeal within 28 days of the service of the completion notice by contacting the Valuation Tribunal Service:-

For details of how to appeal visit the Valuation Tribunal website.  

If a property is empty and unused you will not have to pay business rates for the first three months (or six months for industrial premises). The exemption applies to the empty period of the property itself and is not affected if ownership changes. For example, if you have purchased a property which has been empty for one month, you will be entitled to the remaining two months empty property exemption. 

If you have already received a completion notice for the property, please ensure that the details of the occupants are provided to the Council as soon as possible. Contact details can be found by clicking on the 'contact' tab. 

If you have not been sent a completion notice for a newly built property and it is now occupied, you do not need a completion notice and the date of occupation will be used to enter the building into the rating list. You will need to tell us the occupiers details and they will be liable to pay the business rates.

To enable us to issue a business rates bill the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) must provide us with a Rateable Value (RV) for the property. As soon as the VOA provide us with your RV a bill will be issued.

The criteria set is based on the state of the property alone and no allowance is given for small or large projects or any financial constraints which may be experienced. However, where evidence has been provided we do try and be reasonable when considering the date the property can be completed by.

If the property is complete, please let us know. 

View information about how to contact the Business Rates team.

Last updated: 12/06/2024 10:41

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