The government announced in the Autumn Statement on 5 December 2013 that it would provide relief from business rates for businesses moving into previously empty retail premises. This relief is 50% of the business rate liability on each property reoccupied for a period of 18 months. There is no limit to the rateable value in respect of either the previous or reoccupied property; however, any relief awarded is restricted to the State Aid De Minimis limits. You can see the government guidance in full under 'Documents' to the right of this page.
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied and:
- When previously in use, were wholly or mainly used for retail as set out in the 'Examples of premises previous use' found under 'Documents'
- Were empty for 12 months or more immediately before their reoccupation
- Became reoccupied between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016
- The reoccupied property’s use is not limited to retail so can be used for any purposes with the exception of hereditaments wholly or mainly being used as betting shops, payday loan shops or pawn brokers
To ensure the retail reoccupation relief is correctly applied, you will need to complete an application form. You can either do this by applying online below, or you can download a form and return it to the business rate section by post or email.
Please note the award is discretionary and the Council may choose not to grant relief if it is considered that by granting the relief it would go against the authority’s wider objectives or where it would not help a shopping area to thrive.
Awards such as retail reoccupation relief are required to comply with the EU law on State Aid. This relief can only be awarded up to the state aid limits. As the relief is available per property a business with multiple properties may reach the state aid limits particularly if other aid, such as retail relief, is received. To comply with EU law on state aid, you are required to complete and return the declaration on the reverse of the application form if your business has received any other ‘de minimis’ state aid granted for premises other than the one to which the application relates. Completion of this form is an undertaking that your business can receive, under the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013, an award of retail reoccupation relief without exceeding the €200,000 state aid limit.
If you have not received any other de minimis state aid you do not need to complete the declaration.