With effect from 1 April 2008, there are some important changes to the rate relief on empty properties.
What do these changes mean for you?
- Empty properties that have been empty for more than three months, will no longer receive the 50% relief from Business Rates. Once the initial three month rate-free period expires, the rate payer will be liable for 100% of the basic occupied Business Rate.
- Industrial properties will no longer receive relief. If the property has been empty for more than six months, the rate payer will be liable for 100% of the basic occupied Business Rates.
- Empty listed buildings will continue to receive the existing permanent exemption.
- Companies in administration will receive a new permanent exemption for empty properties.
- Until 31 March 2012, properties with a Rateable Value of less than £2,200 will be exempt from empty property rates. With effect from 1 April 2012, the Rateable Value has increased to £2,600.
- Empty property which is held by a charity or Community Amateur Sports Club and which is likely to be next used for charitable purposes or for the purposes of the club, will not attract empty property rates.
Therefore most owners of properties that has been empty for more than three months as at 1 April 2008 (six months for industrial properties) will no longer receive relief from rates. Any properties that have been empty for less than three or six months as at 1 April 2008, will receive the initial rate-free period after which the property will be subject to a charge of 100% of the basic occupied Business Rate.
Can you appeal against the change in your empty rates liability?
The changes in rates liability arising from the reforms of empty property relief are not in themselves grounds for appeal.
The assessment of rateable values is undertaken by the Valuation Officer (VO) who is independent of the Council.
If you consider that the rateable value of your property is excessive then you should contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) at:
Valuation Office Agency
Non-Domestic Rates South West
Or via www.voa.gov.uk Tel: 03000 501 501
What do you do if you believe your property is incapable of use?
Properties can become incapable of beneficial use either by falling into disrepair so that it cannot be used, or where there is simply no demand for its use.
When considering the rateable value, the VOA is required to assume premises are in reasonable repair unless it would not be economically sensible to repair the property. In assessing whether there is any demand for its use, the VOA is required to look at the level of demand for the type of property in its location on the common valuation date (1 April 2008), rather than at the current demand.
If you think your property is incapable of beneficial use, then you can request to have it removed from the rating list by contacting the VOA directly.