Business rates exemptions
All unoccupied properties are subject to business rates charges unless a business rates exemption applies.
Occupied properties exempt from rating
The type and use of some occupied properties mean that they are exempt from paying Business Rates.A property that is exempt may not have a Rateable Value as the Valuation Office Agency does not have to legally give them a value for Rates.
Such properties will not be included in the Valuation List, and we will not charge any Rates on them, whether they are being used or not.
- Check if your property is in the Rating List - Valuation Office Agency website
- Agricultural land and buildings
- Fish farms
- Places of public religious worship
- Sewers and property of drainage properties
- Public parks
- Non-domestic buildings for use by those with disabilities
- Non-domestic buildings or parts of non-domestic buildings, which cater for the needs of people with learning disabilities.
Unoccupied properties exempt from rating
In general, property that has just become empty will be allowed an exemption from business rates for the first three months (six months for industrial properties from 1st April 2008). If the property changes ownership during this time, the new owner or leaseholder will only be allowed the remainder of the exempt period.
The empty rate charge starts three months after the date the property first became empty and is charged to the person who is entitled to possession. If the property changes ownership after the first three months and is still empty, the new owner or leaseholder will not receive an exempt period. At the end of the three month period, empty rates become payable at the full rate unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by order.
The government is introducing a new temporary measure for unoccupied new builds from October 2013.
Unoccupied new builds will be exempt from unoccupied property rates for up to 18 months (up to state aid limits) where the property comes on to the list between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016.
The 18 month period includes the initial 3 or 6 month exemption and so properties may, if unoccupied, be exempt from non-domestic rates for up to an extra 15 or 12 months.
Whilst most empty properties are allowed an exemption of up to three months from vacation before being charged empty rates, some empty properties are allowed a permanent exemption. Currently, these are where:
- The ratepayer is a charity, and it appears that when next in use the property will be occupied by a charity and used for charitable purposes
- The ratepayer is a registered Community Amateur Sports Club, and it appears that when next in use the property will be occupied by a registered club and will be wholly or mainly used for the purposes of the club
- The property is one which is listed or is an ancient or historical monument
- Occupation of the property is prohibited by the City Council or the government
- The property has a rateable value of less than £2,600 (from 1 April 2011)
- The owner is insolvent and is either bankrupt or subject to a winding-up order
- The owner is entitled to possession only as a liquidator, a trustee under a deed of arrangement or as the personal representative of a deceased person
Industrial exemptionThe hereditament comprises wholly of land, or land with ancillary buildings, and does not constitute a relevant unoccupied hereditament
Properties that have been constructed or adapted for use for manufacturing, repairing or adapting goods or materials, storage, working or processing of materials and generation of electricity will generally be exempt from empty Rates for any period prior to 1st April 2008.
This exemption will apply to premises such as warehouses, (excluding retail warehouses) factories, industrial units and stores.
As a general rule, we will use the property description that the Valuation Officer gives your property when it is valued as a guide to whether the property should be exempt.
However, this is not binding on the Council and there may be cases where we grant or refuse exemptions and dont take the description into account.
The Valuation Officer can provide your propertys description
New regulations apply to empty industrial properties from 1st April 2008. Under these regulations, vacant industrial properties will be exempt from an empty rate charge for up to six months from the date they became empty. At the end of the six-month period, empty rates become payable at the full rate for the property.
Small rateable value exemption
Unoccupied properties below a certain rateable value will not pay empty rates.
Depending on which Rating List you are billed on, the level of Rateable Value classed as 'small differs.
||Period exemption is in force
||Minimum rateable value
||1st April 2011 31st March 2015
||1st April 2010 31st March 2011
||1st April 2005 31st March 2009||£2,200|
||1st April 2009 31st March 2010||£15,000|
||1st April 2000 31st March 2005||£1,900|
||1st April 1995 31st March 2000||£1,500|
||1st April 1990 21st March 1995||£1,000|
Occupation prohibited by law
The owner is prohibited by law from occupying the property.
An exemption would be granted on an empty property where legal action had been taken to prevent its use. However, if legal action had been taken to prevent one particular person or trade from using a property, it is unlikely to be exempt.
Vacant due to Crown action
Property kept vacant due to action by the crown or local authority.
This would generally cover instances such as a compulsory purchase scheme.
Listed building or ancient monuments
Buildings which are listed are protected by law.
All unoccupied listed buildings are exempt from Business Rates. Ancient and historical monuments are also exempt.
Deceased persons' estate
Personal representatives of a deceased person.
If an empty property is owned by a deceased persons estate, then it is exempt.