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Reliefs and Exemptions

Unoccupied property

There are no rates payable for the first three months when a non-domestic property becomes empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. Following this initial exemption period, rates will be charged at the full occupied rate.

If there is a change of ownership whilst the property is empty, no further period of exemption will be allowed unless the property is occupied for a minimum of six weeks. This is because the exemption is on the property and not the owner or leaseholder.

The following categories are exempt from payment of empty property rates under Section 45 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

Small properties

Any property with a rateable value of less than £2,900

Listed buildings

Buildings that are subject to listed status are exempt from payment of empty property rates

Occupation prohibited by law

This exemption applies where occupation of a property is legally forbidden, or works are prevented from being carried out to enable occupation. This might apply where a property contains asbestos, or must have a fire certificate issued prior to occupation.

This category of exemption does not apply where the building requires redecoration or other building works, or where planning permission has been denied.

Bankruptcy, Liquidation and Insolvency

  • Where, in respect of the owner's estate, there subsists a bankruptcy order within the meaning of section 381(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986(c).
  • Whose owner is entitled to possession in his capacity as trustee under the deed of arrangement to which the Deeds of Arrangement Act 1914(d) applies.
  • Whose owner is a company which is subject to a winding-up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is being wound up voluntarily under that Act.
  • Whose owner is a company in administration within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986 or is subject to an administration order made under the former administration provisions within the meaning of article 3 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (Commencement No.4 & Transitional Provisions & Savings) Order 2003(e).
  • Whose owner is entitled to possession in his capacity as liquidator by virtue of an order made under section 112 or section 145 of the Insolvency Act 1986.


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