Rates for empty properties are payable by the person who is entitled to possession of the property. This may for example be the owner or the leaseholder.
The Government has introduced a new temporary measure for unoccupied new builds from October 2013. Unoccupied new builds may be exempt from unoccupied property rates for up to 18 months (up to state aid limits) where the property comes onto the list between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016. The 18 month period includes the initial 3 or 6 month exemption and so properties may, if unoccupied, be exempt from non-domestic rates for up to an extra 15 or 12 months. This relief is granted at the discretion of the Council.
The Government has also introduced a 50% rate relief for 18 months between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016 for businesses that move into retail premises that have been empty for a year or more.
In certain circumstances empty properties are exempt from rates.
These are where:
- The property has been empty for less than 3 months or in the case of certain industrial properties, 6 months.
- The rateable value is less than £18,000. This applies from 1.4.2010 to 13.03.2011.
- The rateable value is less than £2,600. This applies from 01.04.2011.
- The property is a listed building.
- The owner is prohibited by law from occupying the property.
- The property is kept vacant due to action by Crown, Public or Local Authority.
- The property is an ancient monument.
- The property is owned by a person who is bankrupt, or by a company subject to a winding up order, or by a liquidator.
- The owner is entitled to possession as a trustee under a deed of arrangement, or as the personal representative of a deceased person.
Partly Occupied Properties
If part of your property is unoccupied for a short time only, the Council have the discretion to request the Valuation Office Agency to apportion the rateable value between the occupied and unoccupied parts.
To apply for this, the occupier of the premises must make an application to the Council in writing, stating:
- that they wish to apply for partly occupied rate relief
- the address of the premises for which the application is being made
- the date that the empty part of the property became unoccupied
- enclose a plan of the premises showing the exact areas which are occupied and unoccupied so that they can be identified on inspection.
When the Council receive an application, an Officer will usually visit the premises to confirm the details shown on the plan.
The Council will then ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to apportion the rateable value between the occupied and unoccupied parts. The VOA will then issue a certificate to inform the Council of the split and a revised bill will be issued.