Business rates relief

Empty property rate relief

From 1 April 2008, new regulations replaced the previous rules on empty property rate relief.

Exemption period

The core element is that after a certain period of exemption, you will have to pay the same rate for unoccupied properties as for occupied properties. The exemption period for industrial properties is six months and three months for all other non-domestic properties.

This means that if you own an empty non-domestic property - other than a qualifying industrial property - you will have an initial rate-free period of three months. If the premises remain vacant beyond three months, you will be liable for payment of the full 100 per cent occupied rate.

If your qualifying industrial property has fallen vacant, you will have a six-month period during which you will not have to pay business rates. If the property remains empty, you will be liable for the full 100 per cent rate after that point.

Charities and community amateur sports clubs

The business rate for empty non-domestic properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs has been reduced to zero.

Permanent exemptions

The regulations also introduce a full and permanent exemption from empty property rates for companies in administration.

The exemption will apply until the end of the administration and is in addition to exemptions already in force for individuals who are bankrupt, and companies in liquidation.

Temporary reform to empty property rates

The government has made the following changes:

  • For the financial year 2009/10, empty properties with a rateable value of below £15,000 will be exempt from empty property rates
  • For the financial year 2010/11, the rateable value threshold exemption has increased to below £18,000

Rateable value threshold exemption reduced to below £2,600 in 2011/12

The government has recently announced that the rateable value threshold exemption will be reduced to below £2,600.

This means that from 1 April 2011 - unless the property is exempt - the owner or person entitled to possession will be liable for payment of the full 100 per cent occupied rate.