Empty Property

Appeal My Rates UK

What happens if a property is empty?

In this case the council charges unoccupied rate instead of occupied rates. A number of years ago the unoccupied rate used to be lower than the occupied rate but they are now the same so you pay the same rates in both cases. The big difference is that unoccupied properties cannot get any of the reliefs or discounts available such as small business or retail relief.

What happens when my property becomes empty after it was occupied?

In this case the unoccupied rate is still applied but if the prior occupation was more than six weeks you can apply for a short exemption from rates. This is three months for non industrial properties such as shops and offices and six months for industrial properties like warehouses and factories. When the exemption period is over full rates become payable. There have been many schemes launched over recent years to avoid unoccupied rates by placing fake tenants in the property for six weeks and then claiming the exemption and repeating after the exemption period is over again but these have had serious challenges in the high courts. We will not take part in any such schemes as it exposes our clients to potential court action. If your property becomes empty call us to discuss your options and we will give you the best advice.

Are there any cases where a longer exemption can be applied for?

Yes, there are a limited number of circumstances where a property can be exempt from the unoccupied rate. If you are prevented by law from occupation you will be exempt for example. This could be where the building is unsafe or hazardous and you have been issued with a prohibition notice but there are quite a few other circumstances where this exemption can occur. Call us for advice and if you have a case we will propose a fee based on savings in rates payable to represent you with the council.

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