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Commercial empty property rates

Commercial empty property rates

For most businesses, property rates constitute the third largest outgoing, after staff costs and rent. However, for empty property, they may well be the largest outgoing, without any income to pay them. They therefore present a particular challenge to property owners and managers.

There are very few exemptions from empty property rates and there are some reliefs available, so it is important to be aware of the differences between occupied and unoccupied rates and how the liability to empty property rates arises. Effectively the rating of empty property is achieved by levying a separate, different and alternative rate from the occupied rate.

The issue of empty property rates is yet to be fully resolved in legal terms and is becoming increasingly complex. However, while the very substantial burden of rates remains at 100% for all empty premises, attempts at mitigation will inevitably continue. This section is primarily focused on legislation and cases in England and Wales but also provides an overview of the systems for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

This section is maintained by Tom Dixon, a rating consultant with Daniel Watney.