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.

Some empty properties remain exempt from business rates in special circumstances:

  • Small properties with a rateable value under £2900 (value correct from 1 April 2017).
  • Occupation of the property is prohibited by law or by action taken by the Crown.
  • The property is a listed building (not locally listed) or is the subject of a building preservation order.
  • The property is an ancient monument.

Some empty properties remain exempt due to who is responsible for the rates bill:

  • A charity is responsible, and it appears likely when next in use it will be used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes.
  • A Community Amateur Sports Club is responsible, and it appears likely when next is use it will be used for the purposes of the club.
  • The person is responsible due to being 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

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.