Business rates on unoccupied properties

You will not normally need to pay business rates on empty properties for a short time after they become vacant. However, you will need to start paying business rates 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, business rates will be charged at 100% of the full rate bill.


There are certain situations where you would not need to pay rates on a property after the initial exemption period. These are:

  • where occupation is prohibited by law
  • where a property is kept empty due to action taken by, or on behalf of the courts, or by a local or public authority with a view to prohibiting occupation
  • on 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 on behalf of a deceased person, or
    • a liquidator, or
    • a trustee under a deed of arrangement, or
    • the subject of bankruptcy proceedings
  • where a property is owned by a charity or community amateur sports club who last used the property

Partly occupied property relief

You need to pay full business rates after the initial exemption period whether a property is partly or fully occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, we may be able to award a reduction in respect of the unoccupied part. Please contact us for full details.

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