To find yourself liable for business rates on empty property or on a space that is partially empty, can cause landlords and tenants a real problem. We offer proactive advice to minimise your business rates liability on empty and partially vacant properties.

Business rates are one of the largest financial liabilities for a business and can be an extraordinary burden when a property is vacant and there is no income. In England, empty properties are subject to full business rates after an initial three-month relief period. Normally, it’s the tenants who are responsible for paying business rates on a commercial property but if the property becomes vacant, the responsibility shifts to the landlord. 


Business Rates and Empty Properties

Landlords of empty properties are exempt from business rates for the first three months after it becomes empty, but will find themselves required to pay business rates after that initial period. Some properties can get extended empty property relief, for example industrial and warehouse properties benefit from six months relief. For landlords and owners, having an empty property means no incoming rent plus the additional costs of often hefty business rates bills.

If your property remains vacant and empty property rates relief no longer applies, we offer a fully compliant solution which can mitigate your liability until such time as your property is re-occupied. Furthermore, if your property is partially occupied, in some circumstances we can apply to the local billing authority on your behalf to award temporary relief for the part not in use.

There are certain properties, whether occupied or not, that are completely exempt from business rates. This means that if your empty property is within one of these categories, then you don’t have pay business rates.

  • Land that is used for agricultural purposes including fish farms
  • Church halls and buildings that are registered for religious purposes
  • Buildings that are meant for the welfare of disabled people

It is, however, important to note that these exemptions only apply to properties in England. Exemptions in Wales and Scotland apply differently.

Recent Success

Vacant Retail Unit

Acting on behalf of a local investor who had recently acquired a prominent three storey retail unit as a potential development opportunity. The property was to remain vacant whilst the owner occupier considered their plans for the building, during which time they were paying 100% of the business rates liability.

When a property first becomes vacant there is an initial three month period of rates relief (six months for industrial premises), after which the occupier will be liable for full business rates. This can be a substantial burden.

We were able to advise on a strategy to mitigate our client’s liability whilst the property remained vacant and secured three months Empty Property Rates Relief.

We successfully agreed a period of three months Empty Property Rates Relief resulting in a total of £7,300 in business rates savings over three months.

Any questions? Call us

Our experienced team is ready to assist with unparalleled regional advice


Tel: 01872 245600


Tel: 01752 261811


Tel: 01392 203010


Tel: 0117 428 6555

The Team for Business Rates & Empty Property

Case studies for Business Rates & Empty Property

Vickery Holman have successfully agreed a period of 3 months Empty Property Rates Relief for a large vacant retail unit in Penzance, resulting in a total of £7,300 in business rates savings over 3 months! Acting on behalf of a local investor, the prominent three storey retail unit in Penzance had recently been acquired as […]

Vickery Holman are delighted to announce the successful negotiation of an empty office building undergoing refurbishment from £162,000 Rateable Value (RV) to £0 RV, resulting in a total of £35,000 in business rates savings over the 5 month programme of works. Acting on behalf of PKF Francis Clark: Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, Vickery Holman […]

Vickery Holman are delighted to announce the successful re-negotiation of a car showroom business rates assessment from £197,000 Rateable Value (RV) to £75,000 RV, a total of £188,500 in business rates savings! Acting on behalf of a well-known cornish car dealer, Vickery Holman have successfully negotiated a significant business rates reduction on their premises in […]

We have recently acted on behalf of clients throughout the region who’s premises have been affected by the “Mazars and Woolway” case. Here, it was ruled that rooms or floors of a building in multiple occupation must be assessed separately if there are shared areas, such as corridors. The new ruling had most impact on […]

Acting on behalf of the owner occupier in respect of a Business Rates appeal, Vickery Holman are pleased to confirm a £10,000 saving for our Client, over the 2017 rating list. The detached 1970’s built industrial unit is located on a popular and well known industrial estate on the outskirts of the town centre of […]

Some interesting updates in our business rates newsletter Click here for more information – Business Rates Newsletter Spring 2019  

What changes to business rates are pending? Is there a justified call for changes to business rates? We have seen that retailers are benefiting from a rates reduction for the next 2 years. Alongside this, the Government have been asked to urgently assess business rates and in particular look at creating either; a sales tax, […]

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