Unoccupied property rating

Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period, rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order.

A business property is empty for rating purposes when all removable goods have been removed. Fixtures and fittings, for example, shop counters, or built in display units, do not need to be removed.

Some properties can get extended empty property relief:

  • industrial premises (for example warehouses) are exempt for a further 3 months
  • listed buildings - until they’re reoccupied
  • buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 - until they’re reoccupied
  • properties owned by charities - only if the property’s next use will be mainly for charitable purposes
  • community amateur sports clubs buildings - only if the next use will be mostly as a sports club.

The circumstances for which an owner will be exempt from Business Rates on unoccupied properties are:

  • unoccupied for a continuous period not exceeding three months;
  • qualifying industrial property that has been unoccupied for a continuous period not exceeding six months;
  • owner is prohibited by law from occupying it or allowing it to be occupied;
  • kept vacant by reason of action taken by or on behalf of the crown or any local or public authority with a view to prohibiting the occupation or to acquisition of it;
  • the subject of a building preservation notice within the meaning of the planning (listed buildings and conservation areas) Act 1990 or is included in a list compiled under section 1 of that Act;
  • is included in the Schedule of monuments compiled under section 1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979;
  • whose rateable value is less than £2,900;
  • whose owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person;
  • where, in respect of the owner’s estate, there subsists a bankruptcy order within the meaning of section 381(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986;
  • whose owner is entitled to possession of the hereditament (inheritance) in his capacity as trustee under a deed of arrangement to which the Deeds of Arrangement Act 1914 applies;
  • whose owner is a company which is subject to a winding-up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is being wound up voluntarily under that Act;
  • whose owner is a company in administration within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986 or is subject to an administration order made under the former administration provisions within the meaning of article 3 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2003;
  • whose owner is entitled to possession of the hereditament (inheritance) in his capacity as liquidator by virtue of an order made under section 112 or section 145 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

To apply for this relief you must contact the Business Rates team as soon as the property becomes unoccupied. An inspection of the premises is usually made by the Council to confirm the circumstances.

Last updated: 26/04/2019 15:43

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