Exemptions - Empty Property

Unoccupied Property Rating

When a property becomes vacant it is exempt from rates for three months if it remains vacant. You should notify the council immediately if your property becomes empty so that an inspection of the property can be carried out as exemptions will not be granted retrospectively.  A 100% business rate charge will then apply to most properties that have been empty for three months or more, or six months or more in the case of industrial and warehouse property. It is important to note that the three month rate free period applies to the property only. Therefore, if you purchase an empty property you will be immediately liable for empty rates if it has been vacant for more than three months prior to you buying it. A property must be occupied for a minimum of 6 weeks before another exemption can be granted.  Evidence of occupation may be requested.

Please note: if your property is due for a refit or refurbishment, please contact us prior to the work commencing so that an inspection can be carried out as any exemption cannot be backdated.

Are there any exemptions to these charges?

After the initial three or six month rate free period expires, empty property will be liable for 100% of the basic occupied business rate unless:

  • it is held by a charity and appears likely to be next used for charitable purposes
  • it is held by a community amateur sports club and appears to be next used for the purpose of the club
  • the rateable value of the empty property is less than £2,900
  • the owner is prohibited by law from occupying the property
  • the owner is prohibited by action taken by the Crown, or any other local or public authority from occupying the premises
  • the property is included in the schedule of monuments compiled under s.1 to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979
  • the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person
  • subject to a building preservation notice per Section 58 Town & Country Planning Act (1971), or in a list under section 54 of the Act

If the following insolvency or debt administration situation exists:

  • a bankruptcy order within parts 8 to 11 of the Insolvency Act 1986
  • the owner is a trustee under a deed of arrangement to which the Deeds of Arrangement Act 1914 applies
  • the owner is a company subject to a winding up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986
  • the owner is entitled to possession of the property in his capacity as liquidator under s112 or s145 of the Insolvency Act 1986
  • businesses that occupy a property, only trading on a seasonal basis at certain time of the year, would not qualify for relief during the closed period

What if my property is in a poor condition and/or not capable of beneficial occupation?

If your property is not capable of beneficial occupation – for instance, if it is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired or, is undergoing major renovation works you must approach the Valuation Office and request that the property be removed from the rating list altogether. In the meantime whilst the property remains in the local rating list the non domestic rates are due and payable.