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Empty Property Relief

Business Rates are not payable for the first three months that a property is unoccupied. This is extended to six months for certain industrial properties. After this period, business rates are generally payable in full.

There are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property charge: for example, if a property is a listed building, or if the liable person is the personal representative of a deceased ratepayer, or is the trustee or administrator in insolvency proceedings.

All Empty properties with a rateable value less than £2,900 are currently exempt and pay no empty property rates, even after the first three months have expired.

The appropriate relief will be applied to your bill when you advise the Council that the property has become empty.

Properties under repair

For properties that are vacant and in need of, or undergoing, major repair or alteration the standard unoccupied property relief will still apply. There is no specific relief for such properties. However, the Valuation Office have the powers to reduce the rateable value or remove the property temporarily from the Rating list in such circumstances. You can contact the Valuation Office on 03000 501 501 to discuss the matter.

Please Note: The Business Rates charged, based on the current entry in the list, remain legally payable until an amendment is received from the Valuation Office.

Part Occupied Relief

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether the property is fully or only partly used. Where a property is only partly occupied for a short time, for example when there are practical difficulties in using the property to its full extent or during phased occupation or vacation, the Council has the discretion to award a temporary reduction for the part that is not in use. The relief will not be applied where ratepayers simply choose not to use part of the premises.

The relief is known as Section 44(a) and can only be awarded for a maximum of 3 months, or 6 months in the case of industrial properties.

In order to apply you must provide the Business Rate Section with full details of:

• the period for which relief is requested
• the reasons for the part occupation
• a plan of the property clearly showing the occupied and unoccupied parts

If, upon the receipt of a written application and a subsequent inspection, the Council is satisfied that the property meets the qualifying criteria then a request may be made to the Valuation Officer for a certificate assessing the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property. On receipt of the certificate the relief will be applied to your account and a revised bill will be issued.

Please note: Whilst your application is being processed, your business rates remain due and payable as currently billed.

For more information on these reductions you can contact the Business Rates Section on 01744 675264