Commercial surveying services from the Beattie Partnership

Empty Rates Relief

In the current market, you can understand why rates on empty property is such an emotive subject - and an expensive one too for those having to pay it!

The threshold for not paying rates on empty property significantly reduced from April 2011, when the rateable value limit was reduced from £18,000 to just £2,600.  This has recently increased on this to revaluation to £2,900 so those over this new lower threshold will have to pay full business rates once any initial reliefs are given.

The current entitlements are three months' exemption for vacant office and retail properties, and six months for vacant industrial property. The exemption, however, runs with property and not the ratepayer, therefore if the relief has already been granted and the property changes hands and remains empty, no further relief is granted.

If an occupier enters administration or liquidation, that party has an exemption from rates for the whole of the administration/liquidation.

How to avoid paying empty rates

Retail premises can be let on a temporary basis to a charity or other non-commercial enterprise to trigger a further period of exemption.

Premises can be let on a short-term basis and once vacated, a new exemption period can be triggered.

Own premises can be used for storage, even if this covers a small percentage of floor space. Once storage is removed, a further exemption period can be triggered. This was being resisted by many local authorities but case law in the High Court demonstrated this is achievable.

Excess charges are an unwelcome and yet unnoticed thorn in the sides of many businesses, but at The Beattie Partnership we understand the system inside out, so we will work hard to locate as many discounts as possible for you.