Business Rates reductions and relief

Empty and unoccupied property

Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. We can extended this to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full unless reduced by the Government by order. The unoccupied property rate is usually zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. Also, there are some exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. We'll show on the front of the bill if the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by order.

The Government introduced a temporary measure for unoccupied new builds from October 2013. Unoccupied new builds will be exempt from unoccupied property rates for up to 18 months (up to state aid limits) where the property comes on to the list between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016. The 18 month period includes the initial three or six month exemption and so properties may, if unoccupied, be exempt from non-domestic rates for up to an extra 15 or 12 months.

In addition, there are a number of exemptions available from the empty property rate.

The properties exempt from unoccupied property rate are:

  • Occupation prohibited by law
    An unoccupied property is exempt where its owner is prohibited by law from occupying it or allowing it to be occupied. This situation may arise where the Council has taken legal action to prevent occupation on the grounds of a risk to health and/or safety
  • Listed Buildings
    A building which is the subject of a building preservation notice, or which is included in a list of buildings of specific architectural or historic interest, is exempt
  • Ancient monuments
    Exemption extends to property which are included in a schedule of monuments
  • Minimum rateable value
    Property with a rateable value of less than £2,600 are exempt.
  • Personal representatives of deceased persons
    A property is exempt where the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person
  • Insolvency and debt administration
    Exemption from liability on unoccupied property also applies in the following situations (where governed by the appropriate legislation):
    • Where there exists in respect of the owner's estate a bankruptcy order
    • Where the owner is entitled to possession of the property in his capacity as trustee under a deed of arrangement
    • Where the owner is a company which is subject to a winding up order or which is being wound up voluntarily
    • Where the owner is entitled to possession of the property in the capacity of a liquidator