Empty (unoccupied) properties relief

If a property is empty, you might be able to claim relief depending on the previous and current circumstances of the property.

Empty property relief will usually be awarded as follows:

  • three months exemption for empty buildings
  • six months exemption for industrial premises (for example, warehouses)

Once the exemption period has expired, business rates will be due at the full charge, even if the property still remains empty.

Read more about empty properties

How to apply

If you believe you qualify for empty property relief, please complete our application form.

Apply online for empty property relief

Person responsible for paying empty rates

The person or company entitled to occupy the property is responsible to pay any empty rates. If the property is leased, this will be the tenant, otherwise it will usually be the owner of the property.

If you buy or rent a property that is already unoccupied, the rate free period will not start again. It starts from the date the property initially became empty.

Properties exempt from paying empty rate charges

Certain properties may be exempt from paying empty rates:

  • the property has a rateable value less than £2,900
  • the owner is prohibited by law from occupation, or allowing the property to be occupied
  • properties owned by charities – only if the property’s next use will be mostly for charitable purposes
  • community amateur sports clubs buildings – only if the next use will be mostly as a sports club
  • the property is kept vacant by reason of action taken by or on behalf of the Crown or any local or public authority with a view to prohibiting the occupation of the property or to acquiring it
  • listed buildings – until they’re reoccupied

Properties in poor condition

If your property is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired, the valuation officer may judge that it should be taken out of the rating list altogether. 

Contact the valuation officer

Phone: 03000 501 501

Visit the Valuation Office Agency (VOA)  website

Important payment information

  • Applying for relief does not entitle you to withhold payments on your account. You must continue to pay your business rates as billed.
  • Recovery action will be taken if your payments are not up to date.