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Business Rates relief for empty properties

A business property is empty for rating purposes when all removable goods and chattels have been removed. Fixtures and fittings, for example, shop counters, or built in display units, do not need to be removed.

Empty properties - rates liability

The Government reformed empty property relief in 2008 in order 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 so reduce the need for new development on environmentally 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 property where no rates are payable, even after the three month period expires. Examples include properties with a rateable value under £2,900 (this was under £2,600 for the rating years 2011-2012 to 2016-2017, under £18,000 for the rating year 2010-2011, under £15,000 in 2009-2010 and under £2,200 in 2008-2009), listed buildings, ancient monuments, those formerly occupied by companies in administration, or a bankrupt person (where that person, company, or administrator remains liable), and those 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, those where occupation is prohibited by law 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 in themselves grounds for appeal. However, 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:

Empty property relief will usually be calculated automatically from information supplied at the time of sale or purchase. If you receive a bill for an empty property which does not show the correct reduction, please let us know.