Unoccupied Property Rating
From 1 April 2008, most property that has been empty for more than three months - or, in the case of industrial property, for more than six months - will no longer receive relief from rates.
After the initial three or six month rate-free period expires, empty property will be liable for 100% of the basic occupied business rate, unless it falls into one of the following categories:
- Is Next Being Occupied by a Charity or Community Amateur Sports Club 'CASC' - The property will qualify for the new zero rate. From 1 April 2008, the rates liability of empty property that is held by a charity and appears likely to be next used for charitable purposes, or that is held by a community amateur sports club and appears likely to be next used for the purposes of the club, will be reduced from 10% of the basic occupied rate to zero.
- Other Exemptions - While the current permanent exemption for industrial property will be reduced to six months, the Government proposes to preserve the majority of the other existing exemptions unchanged. Exemption categories are as follows:
Unoccupied for a period of less than three months or six months for industrial properties
Occupation prohibited by law
Kept vacant by reason of action taken by the Crown or any local authority or public body
Property with a rateable value of less than £2,600
Property for which the person entitled to possession does so as a personal representative of a deceased person, a liquidator or trustee or where the owner is subject to bankruptcy proceedings - from April 2008 this category will be extended to properties held by companies in administration.
Can I get my property taken out of the rating list altogether?
If your property is not capable of beneficial occupation - for instance, if it is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired - the valuation officer may judge that it should be taken out of the rating list altogether. For further details please contact the Valuation Office Agency, Crown House, Birch Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WS1 4DS or ring 03000 501 501.
How will my rates liability be affected if my property is only partly occupied?
If a property is only partly occupied, the billing authority has discretion to request that the valuation officer apportions the property's rateable value between its occupied and unoccupied parts.
From 1 April 2008, as a consequence of the reforms there may be a 3 or 6 month rate free period for the empty part of the property. However, if the property qualifies for the new zero rate or for an exemption from rates when empty, the apportionment will continue to have effect and the owner will not be liable for rates on the empty part.
Can I appeal against the change in my rates liability?
The changes in rates liability arising from the reforms to empty property relief are not in themselves grounds for appeal. However, if you disagree with the rateable value that appears in the current rating list for your property, under the existing arrangements you may challenge it by making a `proposal' against it to the Valuation Office. Your rights of appeal are not affected by the reforms to empty property relief. For further information about the arrangements for making proposals you can contact this authority on the helpline number at the top of this letter or the Valuation Office Agency, Crown House, Birch Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WV1 4DS or ring 03000 501 501.
Last Updated: 28/07/2015