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Empty Properties

Properties that are empty and unused are exempt from Business Rates for the first three months. This may be extended to six months for certain industrial properties. After this time empty property rates are payable.

Some empty properties are exempt from the empty property rate;

  • Those with a rateable value below £2,900 from 1 April 2017 (below £2,600 from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2017)) 
  • A property held by a Charity or Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) and is likely to be used for charitable purposes or for the purposes of the sports club
  • Listed buildings or those subject to a preservation notice
  • Ancient monuments
  • A property owned by a company in administration
  • Where the law does not allow the property to be occupied
  • Where the Crown or a local/public authority is taking action that prevents occupation
  • The person entitled to occupation holds it only as the personal representative of a deceased person
  • New builds (for a limited time)*

*The Government has introduced a new temporary measure. Unoccupied new builds coming in the rating list between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 will be exempt from empty property rates for up to 18 months. This includes the initial three or six month exemption for empty properties. Meaning, if a property remains unoccupied, it may be exempt for an extra 12 or 15 months.

Long term empty retail properties
The Government is giving us funding to help businesses that move into long term empty properties. See Reductions and Reliefs for further details.

Partly occupied property
If your property is partly occupied we can ask the Valuation Office Agency to split the rateable value between the occupied and unoccupied parts. The empty part will qualify for the three or six month empty exemption. After this time, the full-occupied rate will apply to the whole property.

How to apply
If you think you may qualify for one of the above exemptions, contact us at or by telephone on 01775 761161, selecting Business Rates.

Property not capable of occupation
If your property cannot be occupied because it is in poor condition and cannot be repaired at a reasonable cost, the Valuation Office Agency may take it out of the rating list altogether. However, if your property has been damaged for the purpose of avoiding rates, the Valuation Office Agency will make an assessment without taking this change into consideration. For example, if you remove a roof from your empty property in an attempt to stop it being rated, it will be valued as if the roof had not been removed.

Appealing against the change in your rates liability
The changes to empty property relief cannot be appealed against. If you disagree with the current rateable value of your property you can appeal to the Valuation Office Agency.

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