Business rates on unoccupied properties

Unoccupied non-domestic properties may qualify for 'Empty Property Rates Relief'. You will normally be exempt from paying business rates on empty property for three months or six months after the property becomes vacant.

Liability for business rates starts again after the property has been empty for:

  • three months for shops and offices
  • six months for factories and warehouses

After these 'empty property periods', rates are charged at 100% of the full rate bill.

Exemptions from empty property rates

There are certain exemptions from empty property rates, these are:

  • Where occupation is prohibited by law
  • Where a property is kept empty due to action taken by or on behalf of the Crown or any local or public authority with a view to prohibiting occupation
  • Certain listed buildings, or where the building is the subject of a building preservation notice or it is scheduled as an ancient monument
  • Where the rateable value is less than £2,900
  • Where the person entitled to possession of the property is acting in the capacity as a personal representative of a deceased person, or as a liquidator or as a trustee under a deed of arrangement or where the owner is the subject of bankruptcy proceedings
  • Properties owned by charities, or community amateur sports club, who last used the property.

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. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.

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