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Unoccupied Premises


When a non-domestic property becomes completely empty, there is a-

  • 3-month rate-free period for commercial premises (e.g. shops and offices),
  • 6-month rate-free period for industrial premises (e.g. warehouses and workshops).

The rate-free period applies from the date the premises first becomes empty.   If the premises are purchased by a new owner or the lease is assigned to a new tenant and remain empty, the new ratepayer does not receive a further period of exemption.  They will only be entitled to any remaining balance of the original 3 month or 6 month period.  

After the initial rate-free period has expired, the empty property will be charged 100% of the business rates, as though the property was occupied.

Some unoccupied premises are exempt from empty property rates after the 3 or 6 month rate-free period.  The exemption applies where:

  • The rateable value of the property is less than £2,900,
  • The owner is prohibited by law from occupying the property or allowing it to be occupied,
  • The owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person,
  • The property is the subject of a building preservation notice,
  • The property is a listed building,
  • 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 a company subject to a winding-up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is being wound up voluntarily under that Act.
  • The owner is entitled to possession of the property in his capacity as liquidator under s112 or s145 of the Insolvency Act 1986
  • The owner is a company in administration under the Insolvency Act 1986 or is subject to an administration order


Can I have my property removed from the rating list?

If your property is in a very poor condition and cannot be economically repaired, the Valuation Office Agency may decide that it should be taken out of the rating list altogether.

You can contact the Valuation Officer on telephone number 03000 501 501 or via the VOA website.


Partly occupied / Unoccupied property

Where part of a property is unoccupied for a short time, the Council has the discretion to apply reduction for the unoccupied part of the property.  The Council would ask the Valuation Office Agency to apportion the rateable value for the whole premises between the occupied and unoccupied parts.  For us to do this the occupied and unoccupied areas would have to be clearly defined and meet the following criteria:  

  • The total empty period in any rate year must be no more than 3 months (or 6 months in the case of industrial properties) 

  • The empty period is a temporary change.  Permanent changes should result in a change in the actual rateable value in the local rating list.

Updated: 7 Mar 2017
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