Business Rates relief for empty properties

A business property is empty for rating purposes with the removal of all goods and possessions. Fixtures and fittings, for example, shop counters, or built in display units, do not need removing.

Empty properties - rates liability

The Government reformed empty property relief in 2008, to provide a strong incentive to bring empty properties back into use. This will help to increase the supply of premises to let, and so reduce business rents and improve the competitiveness of the United Kingdom, as well as bringing forward brown field sites for redevelopment and reduce the need for new development on valuable green field land.

So what does this mean for my rates liability?

Once a property becomes empty, the first three months are exempt from rating (six months in the case of an empty industrial property). Thereafter, the full 100% rates are payable. There are certain types of empty properties where no rates are payable, even after the three-month period expires. Examples include:

  • properties with a rateable value under £2,900;
  • under £18,000 for the rating year 2010-2011;
  • under £15,000 in 2009-2010;
  • under £2,200 in 2008-2009;
  • listed buildings, ancient monuments, those occupied by companies in administration, or a bankrupt person (where that person, company, or administrator remains liable);
  • properties where the ratepayer is a charity or community amateur sports club and when next used will be wholly or mainly used for those charitable or sporting purposes; and
  • those where law prohibits occupation and where the owner is the personal representative of a deceased person.

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 grounds for appeal. If you disagree with the rateable value that appears in the current rating list entry for your property, under the existing arrangements, you may challenge it by making a 'proposal' against it to the Valuation Office Agency.

  • Address: Non-Domestic Rates North West, Valuation Office Agency, Redgrave Court, Merton Road, Bootle, Merseyside L20 7HS
  • Telephone: 03000 501501
  • Email:

Calculation of empty property relief is automatic from information supplied at the time of sale or purchase. If you receive a bill for an empty property that does not show the correct reduction, please let us know.

Last updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2022.