If your property is empty you should contact the Council immediately so that an inspection can be made to confirm your entitlement to an exemption. An exemption cannot be backdated. Most empty properties qualify for relief from business rates for a fixed period. At the end of this period a full charge will be due again. Your property must be empty now (or will be in the near future) for you to apply and you must be registered for business rates.
The Council will inspect your property at a time you agree and then determine whether you are eligible for the empty building rate relief. Make sure you nominate a representative from your company to liaise with the Council Officer.
GOV.UK provides more details on this type of relief.
If your property is not capable of occupation - for example, it is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired - you can ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to consider taking it out of the rating.
There are two main types of exemption:
- three-month exemption for standard properties
- six-month exemption for warehouses and factories
Some other properties can also get extended relief:
- listed buildings - until they’re reoccupied
- buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 - until they’re reoccupied
- properties owned by charities (only if the property’s next use will be mostly for charitable purposes)
- community amateur sports club buildings (only if the next use will be mostly as a sports club)
If the property is recognised as land then the exemption will be ongoing, unless there is a change in circumstances. If you are using your property as storage then it is classed as occupied, and you will therefore not be eligible for empty building rate relief.
As a business ratepayer you are liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly or partly occupied. However, where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the Council has the discretion to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Contact the Council for further information.
If you don't have an empty building rate relief discount on your bill and you think you are eligible, you can apply using the online form at the bottom of this page. You will need to provide:
- your business rates account number
- details of the property and when it became empty
- your business trading name and address
- your contact details
- the contact details of your company representative who will liaise with the Council
Apply for empty building rate relief