When a business property is empty, you may be exempt from paying rates. Check if you are exempt and keep us informed if anything changes.

When a property has been occupied for 6 weeks or more and falls empty there are no business rates due for the first three months (six months if industrial).

Properties that are still empty at the end of this time period will be liable to pay full business rates. These time limits remain the same even if the ownership of a property changes.

Empty properties will remain exempt from business rates if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • From 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2017, the rateable value of the property is less than £2,600.
  • From 1 April 2017, the rateable value of the property is less than £2,900.
  • Occupation of the property is prohibited by law.
  • The property is kept vacant because of action taken by the Crown to prohibit occupation.
  • The property is a listed building under Section 54 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 or is the subject of a building preservation order.
  • The property is an ancient monument included in Section 1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas 1979.
  • The person is entitled to possession only in his/her capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person.

The person entitled to possession is subject to one of the following insolvency or debt administration situations:

  • Bankruptcy proceedings under the Insolvency Act 1986
  • As Trustee under the Deeds of Arrangement Act 1914
  • A company subject to a winding-up order under the Insolvency Act 1986
  • Is the liquidator under S112 or S115 of the Insolvency Act 1986?
  • A company in Administration under the Insolvency Act 1986 or is subject to an Administration Order

There are also no business rates to pay on an unoccupied property if:

  • It is held by a charity and appears likely to be next used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes.
  • It is held by a Community Amateur Sports Club and appears likely to be next used for the purposes of the club.

Partly occupied properties

A property that is partly occupied will be charged full business rates. If you believe it is could be classed as more than one property please contact the valuation office.

Further details about applying for Section 44a relief are located on our Partly Occupied Property page

Keeping us informed

We regularly inspect unoccupied properties. However, you must still tell us when there is a change of circumstances, for instance, if someone has moved in or if you have sold the property. 

If you would like more information about property exemptions, contact the Revenues and Benefits Service.

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