Business Rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period, rates are payable at the full occupied rate unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order. It is important to note that the three or six month rate free period applies to the property only. Therefore, if you purchase or lease an empty commercial property you will be immediately liable for empty rates payable at the full occupied rate if it has been vacant for more than statutory exempt period ( 3 or 6 months) prior to property being purchased or let.
There are a number of circumstances where a Ratepayer will be exempt from the payment of the empty property rate, they are as follows:
• Empty properties with a rateable value of less than £18,000 with effect from 1st April 2010 for 1 year only until 31st March 2011 (For the period 1st April 2009 to 31st March 2010 the limit was set at £15,000- Prior to 1st April 2009, the limit was set at £2,200)
• Empty properties owned by charities that when next used will be used for a charitable purpose.
• Empty properties owned by a registered Community Amateur Sports Club.
• Empty properties owned by Companies in Liquidation or Administration.
• Where an unoccupied property is prohibited by law from occupation, no empty rates are payable. This situation may arise where a Council has taken legal steps to prevent occupation as a risk to health or safety. Similarly, properties kept vacant by the actions of the Crown or local or public authority with a view to prohibiting occupation or acquiring it are exempt.
• Listed buildings are exempt provided that they are included in a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest or subject to a building preservation notice under the terms of the Town & Country Planning Act 1971 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
• Personal Representatives of deceased persons are exempt together with insolvency and debt administration entitled to possession only in their respective representative capacities.
• Ancient Monuments that are included in the schedule of monuments compiled under Section 1 to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 are also exempt.
Partly Occupied Property Relief - A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Further details can be obtained from the Business Rates Team on (01727) 819270