If a business premises is empty, you will not have to pay business rates for a limited period of time.

For most types of business premises, you don't have to pay business rates for the first three months they are unoccupied. For some industrial properties, such as factories and warehouses, we extend this to six months.

We only allow one rate-free period each time a property becomes unoccupied. So, if you take over a property that is already unoccupied, you will only benefit from this allowance for the remainder of the three or six month period.

After this period, for most properties, you will have to pay rates in full.

Exemptions from business rates

Some properties do not have to pay business rates when unoccupied, these include:

  • Listed buildings and ancient monuments
  • Land (such as surface car parks)
  • Properties where the law forbids occupation
  • Where the crown or a local authority has taken action with a view to forbidding occupation of the property, or to acquiring it
  • Properties where the ratepayer is the personal representative of someone who has died
  • Where the person entitled to possess the property is subject to bankruptcy or winding up proceedings
  • Properties with a rateable value of less than a specified amount. From 1 April 2017, the government set the value at £2,900
  • Agricultural land and premises
  • Premises used for public religious worship
  • Properties that are wholly used for the training, welfare and other associated services for disabled people

These last three are also exempt when occupied.

If you are responsible for paying rates on an unoccupied property and think you may be entitled to one of the above exemptions, please contact us using the contact details below.

Further information can be found on the exempt buildings and empty buildings relief page on the GOV.UK website.

Contact us

Business rates - billing, collection and recovery

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