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Partly occupied property relief

1. Overview

Business rates are payable whether a property is wholly or only partly occupied.

Where a property is partly occupied for a short period of time then we have discretion to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part of the property.

Normally, we will send a member of the Business Rates team to look at how you are using your property at the time of your application.

Dependant on your circumstances we can choose to ask the Valuation Office to divide the current rateable value between the parts of the property that are occupied and those which are not occupied.

From 1 April 2008, following the reforms to empty property relief, the empty part will receive:

  • for most properties a complete exemption from rates for the first 3 months it is empty
  • for an industrial property, a complete exemption for the first 6 months

After the initial rate-free period expires, in most cases the apportionment will end and the occupied business rate will apply to the whole property.

This will ensure that occupiers can benefit from any occupied business rate relief’s to which they are eligible. For example small business rate relief - on the whole of the property, not just the occupied part.

However, if the property would qualify for the new zero rate or for an exemption from rates when empty, the apportionment will continue to have effect. This means the owner will not be liable for rates on the empty part.