Empty Rates and Mitigation Strategies

We have established a dedicated team based in our Cheltenham office to deal with empty rates mitigation issues and to provide expert advice to help you reduce or remove liability on wholly or partially empty properties.

Fully vacant properties

When a commercial property is initially and fully vacated there is a period of exemption from paying business rates; this is usually three months, although this can vary depending on property type, size and location. After this period, the ratepayer can become liable to pay these rates again, even if the premises remain unoccupied.

The rules governing liability on empty properties are complex but by drawing on our significant experience, our team will develop strategies to mitigate, or, in some cases, fully remove liability rates on unoccupied premises. We understand the legislation and how local authorities operate, making us ideally positioned to offer you the best mitigation solutions.

Careful planning is crucial, particularly where the property is to remain empty for a significant period. There are many different approaches to reflect individual circumstances and so our advice is always highly-tailored to your situation. We take on board reputational issues, client by client, and will help you navigate through the regulations to ensure that a successful outcome is achieved.

We will be able to manage both self-service schemes – where our client temporarily occupies their surplus properties - as well as third party solutions. We can introduce you to specialist companies offering robust mitigation solutions that we consider are reliable and will deliver to our high expectations and we will fully manage their activities for you. This “one-stop shop” service for our clients has added considerable value to both owners and occupiers alike.

Partially vacated properties

Buildings can often be partially vacated for a variety of reasons – be that a phased occupation, a phased disposal or a reconfiguration of space within. Sometimes our clients re-locate teams between buildings and they also undertake phased refurbishments of their occupied space. In all these circumstances it can be possible to obtain discretionary relief to reflect the temporarily vacant floor space.

The discretion exercised by individual Billing Authorities varies considerably and obtaining relief can be a significant challenge. Many of the team have been recruited directly from Billing Authorities and in a world of increasing business rates retention they are well placed to argue our client’s case for discretionary relief to be applied.

If you have properties in your portfolio that are currently or soon-to-be vacant, we would encourage you to get in touch to find out how we can help you mitigate your business rate liability.

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We understand the legislation and how local authorities operate, making us ideally positioned to offer you the best mitigation solutions.