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Commercial empty property rates

Here, we outline the rules and regulations regarding commercial properties standing empty, and what charges you are likely to encounter if your building remains unoccupied.

Commercial empty property rates

"There are some other circumstances whereby you might be eligible for exemption or business rate relief, for more information on this you should contact your local council."

You’re likely to be losing out on money if you’ve got a commercial property that’s standing empty, and no landlord wants to be losing out on money, but whilst you’re not receiving any residents, you may also be faced with a bill of your own. You will be expected to cover a monthly rate for your property standing unoccupied in some cases.

First three months

A monthly rate is expected from the landlords when their commercial property is vacant. You must inform your local council should your property become vacant. Rates differ depending on location, the government states that when landlords building becomes vacant they don’t have to pay any business rates for the first 3 months of vacancy. Following this however, landlords will have to then pay full business rates for additional months that the property is empty.

There are some exceptions where extended empty property relief can be granted. These include:

  • Industrial premises, such as warehouses, are exempt for a further 3 months.
  • Listed buildings are exempt from business rates until they’re reoccupied.
  • Buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 are exempt until they’re reoccupied.
  • Properties owned by charities are eligible for an extension, only if the property’s next use will be mostly for charitable purposes.
  • Community amateur sports club’s buildings are eligible for an extension on empty property relief, only if the next use will be mostly as a sports club.

Monthly rates

Landlords are expected to pay full business rates following their three month empty property relief. This means they’re expected to pay the full rate of the property if it were to be occupied. These rates are chargeable on all unoccupied properties, unless however, the property has a pre-agreed extended business rate relief or has been classed as exempt.


There are a number of buildings which are exempt from paying business rates when the property is vacant – these include:

  • Agricultural land and buildings, including fish farms.
  • Buildings that are used for the training or welfare of disabled people.
  • Buildings registered for public religious worship or church halls.

However, these exceptions have strict legal requirements.

You also won’t pay empty property business rates for small businesses. If your property’s rateable value is less than £12,000 then you won’t be expected to pay any business rates at all whilst the property’s vacant, you can also claim relief if the property’s rateable value is under £15,000 or if your business only used the one property. However, if the value is between £12,000 and £15,000 you will have to pay some business rates, but these will gradually go down from 100% to 0% due to the relief.

Article kindly supplied by Proppellor