Unoccupied premises

When your property is unoccupied you may be liable to pay empty property rates.

Charges start after the property has been empty for the exemption period. Commercial non-industrial properties (offices and shops) are exempt for three months and industrial properties exempt for six months. Retail warehouses are considered retail for the purposes of unoccupied rating.

Certain properties that are constructed or adapted for use by a trade or business are exempt, including:

  • manufacturing, repairing or adapting goods or materials (a factory)
  • storing or handling goods during distribution (a warehouse)
  • working or processing minerals
  • generating electricity
  • a listed building, where an assessment relates to land, and administration.

Businesses do not pay empty property rates when:

  • the rateable value is less than £2,900 (or £2,600 before 1 April 2017)
  • the property is prohibited by law from being occupied
  • the property is kept empty due to action taken by, or on behalf of, the Crown or any local or public authority with a view to prohibiting occupation
  • the property is subject to a building preservation notice, or is scheduled as an ancient monument
  • the person entitled to possession of the property is acting as a personal representative of a deceased person, as a liquidator, a trustee under a deed of arrangement or where the owner is the subject of bankruptcy proceedings
  • the owner of the empty property is a charity

Initial three or six month exemptions apply from the date when the property first becomes empty (including storage), and cannot be awarded again if the empty property is sold.