Partly occupied properties (Section 44(a) relief)

The ratepayer is liable for the full business rates whether the property is fully or only partly used.

Where a property is partly occupied for a short time with an intention to fully occupy or fully vacate the whole property again, in certain circumstances, we can use discretionary powers to apply to the Valuation Office Agency to award a temporary reduction for the part that is not in use.

This relief is known as 'Section 44(a)' and can usually only be awarded for a maximum of three months, or six months in the case of industrial properties.

How to apply 

Your application must include:

  • Reason and details of the parts of the property that are occupied and those that are unoccupied.
  • A plan of the property, clearly identifying the parts that are occupied and those that are unoccupied.
  • The date the unoccupied part of your premises will be used again.

Apply online for partly occupied property relief

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.

What happens next

One of our inspectors may need to visit your premises to determine if you would qualify for Section 44(a) relief.

If you are entitled to the relief, a request will be made to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) requesting Section 44(a) relief be awarded on the property.

The Valuation Office will then send the council a separate rateable value for both the occupied and unoccupied areas of the property, which will enable us to calculate your relief entitlement. 

Once your relief has been calculated, a revised bill will be issued showing your entitlement.

If we do not grant relief, we will write to you to explain why within 14 days of the decision being made.

There is no formal right of appeal as this relief is discretionary.

More information

Read out discretionary business rates relief policy