Unoccupied Property Rating

Unoccupied properties will be liable for 100% of the basic occupied Business Rate once the relevant free period has expired. 

Changes to empty property legislation from 1st April 2017

From 1st April 2017 most assessments that have been empty for more than three months, or in the case of industrial property, for more than six months - will no longer receive relief from rates, unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by Government by order.

For the financial year 2017/2018 empty properties with a Rateable value less that £2,899 are exempt from rates.

Are there any exemptions to this charge?

After the initial three or six month rate free period expires, empty property will be liable for 100% of the basic occupied business rate unless:-

  1. It is held by a charity and appears likely to be next used for charitable purposes. 
  2. It is held by a community amateur sports club and appears to be next used for the purpose of the club. 
  3. The rateable value of the property is less than £2,900. 
  4. The owner is prohibited by law from occupying the property. 
  5. The owner is prohibited by action taken by the Crown, or any other local or public authority from occupying the premises. 
  6. The property is included in the schedule of monuments compiled under s.1 to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. 
  7. The owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person. 
  8. The property is a listed building. 
  9. The owner/occupier is a company in administration, that is not trading.

Or if the following insolvency or debt administration situation exists:

  • A bankruptcy order within parts 8 to 11 of the Insolvency Act 1986. 
  • The owner is a trustee under a deed of arrangement to which the Deeds of Arrangement Act 1914 applies. 
  • The owner is a company subject to a winding up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986. 
  • The owner is entitled to possession of the property in his capacity as a liquidator under s112 or s145 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Who is liable for the empty rates?

The person or company entitled to occupy the property is liable to pay any empty rates.  If the property is leased this will be the leaseholder, 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 does not start again it always starts from the date the property initially became empty.

Can I have my property removed from the rating list?

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.

The valuation officer is an officer of HM Revenue and Customs and can be contacted on telephone number 03000 501 501 or by going to their website Valuation Office Agency (external link).

Whilst your application to have your property taken out of rating is being considered, you must continue to pay your bill in line with your instalments or further recovery action may take place.

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 your local Valuation Office (external link).

© Wigan Council