Unoccupied Property Rating

Business Rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty, or six months in the case of industrial properties. After this period, rates are payable in full. However, there are certain exemptions from the empty charge which include listed buildings and properties with a rateable value of less than £2900.


The following will remain subject to a zero rate when empty if:

  • The property has a rateable value of less than £2,900
  • Occupation prohibited by law
  • Vacant due to action taken on behalf of the Crown
  • Subject to building preservation notice – listed building
  • Included in schedule of monuments as compiled under Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act 1979(b)
  • Owner entitled to possession only in his capacity as personal representative of a deceased person
  • In respect of owner’s estate there subsists a bankruptcy order
  • Owner entitled possession as trustee under deed of arrangement
  • Owner is a company subject to winding-up order under the Insolvency Act 1986 or being wound up voluntarily under that act
  • Owner in administration or subject to administration order
  • Owner entitled to possession in capacity as liquidator

Exemption will also be approved where the ratepayer is a charity or trustee for a charity and it appears that when next in use the property will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

The same applies where the ratepayer is a registered club and it appears when next in use it will be wholly or mainly used for the purposes of that registered club or clubs.

Partly occupied property relief (section 44a)

A rate payer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the council has the discretion to ask the valuation officer to apportion the rateable value between the occupied and unoccupied parts, for the current financial year.

This rate relief is intended for properties where there are practical difficulties in occupying or vacating a property in one operation. It is not intended that S44a be used where part of a property is temporarily not used or its use is temporarily reduced i.e. where plant, equipment or machinery remain in it.

Business rate relief for pubs

The Government provides a relief scheme for pubs that have a rateable value below £100,000. Pubs that qualify will receive a £1,000 discount on their bill.

Businesses that got the discount for 2017/18, automatically got it again for 2018/19. The rate relief ended on 31 March 2019, but it is available again for the financial year 2020/21.

For this discretionary relief to be awarded in respect of a given financial year, applications must be made in sufficient time for a decision to be made by the end of September of the subsequent financial year.

If you don't get this rate relief, but your pub:

  • Is an occupied property with a rateable value of less than £100,000
  • Is open to the general public
  • Allows drinking without the purchase of food
  • Allows free entry other than when occasional entertainment is provided
  • Permits drinks to be purchased at a bar

If you have not received this relief on your business rate bill please email providing your business rates account number and full details of how you fulfil the above criteria.