Rates for Vacant Commercial Properties Relief provides 100% relief from business rates during the first three months when any office, shop, or retail premises is unoccupied, or the first six months when any warehouse or manufacturing premises is unoccupied. If the property is not re-let within this time frame, the owner will be responsible for the entire amount of the empty property prices and will not be eligible for the empty rates avoidance.

When Is A Building Classed As Vacant?

Your property is considered vacant if it has been unoccupied for 30 days or longer. This regulation applies to all unoccupied residences, regardless of whether they’ve been left unoccupied owing to an impending sale or rental, repairs, or probate.

Rateable Occupation

The availability of relief is contingent on whether or not there has been a period of “rateable occupation.” If there has been a period of “rateable occupation,” this will reset the period. A property must fulfil four requirements to be considered rateable:

  • Possession must provide some benefit or profit to the holder.
  • The possession must have a high level of consistency in terms of permanency.
  • It is necessary to have actual occupation or possession.
  • That usage must be limited to the possessor’s specific purpose.

If all of the conditions are satisfied and the rateable occupation lasts for more than six weeks, the owner is eligible to a second term of exemption when the premises become vacant.

As a result of the alleviation, plenty of intermittent occupation schemes have emerged to take advantage of the situation. In theory, the plan comprises leasing a tiny section of the unoccupied land for a set period of time. The occupier is responsible for rates when a new occupation begins, but when that occupier goes, a new three- or six-month cycle of vacant property relief begins.

Exemptions To Secure Empty Rates Avoidance

If you fulfil one of the following requirements, you may be exempt from paying business rates on your unoccupied property:

  • Your property has been set aside for religious use by the general public.
  • On your property, agriculture, including fish farms, is conducted.
  • Your property is utilised for the training or healthcare of handicapped individuals.
  • In terms of rateable value, your home is valued less than £2,600.
  • You are not allowed to live in the house because of the legislation.
  • You’ve been declared bankrupt.

There are no business rates to pay if a non-domestic property is empty for the first three months, or six months in the case of an industrial estate. After the first rate-free period of three or six months has expired, the unoccupied property will be subject to full business rates as if it were used. If the original liable entity (for example, a former owner or leaseholder) has previously sought the exemption, there will be no additional mitigation available.


If you have any questions or queries regarding empty rates or business rates then do not hesitate to get in touch today!