In England and Wales, from the date a property is vacated, the ratepayer is normally liable to pay 100% business rates after an initial void rates period. The void period is three months except for industrial properties where it is six months. There are limited exceptions, e.g. empty listed buildings are exempt from business rates while empty. In Scotland, 50% rates are payable after three months for most properties, but no rates are payable on industrial properties while they remain unoccupied.
There are a number of ways of mitigating the cost of unoccupied property business rates. Guardians of London are now offering a rates mitigation service, where we can provide advice to landlords on how you can save money on your business rates.
This can be done in a number of ways: intermittent occupation, allowing a charity to use your premises or, in extreme cases, stripping-out or demolishing a vacant building to render it incapable of economic repair. For part-occupied properties, steps can be taken to obtain rates relief in respect of the vacant part.
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