If the property is deemed to be fit for occupation there are several exemptions and methods to help to eliminate or reduce the rates bill. Exemptions are awarded by the Local Authority, so it can be a more efficient alternative to appealing a historic rates bill with the VOA.
A full assessment of the property and its circumstances will be undertaken by us before we can determine what exemptions apply to the property and identify the most appropriate solution.
Commercial property, such as offices and shops qualify for 100% relief for a continuous period of 3 months. Industrial properties, such as warehouses and storage units qualify for 100% relief for a continuous period of 6 months. The relief period is triggered when the property becomes vacant after a period of occupation lasting more than six weeks.
Other exemptions include property:
- Listed by Historic England or a property that is partially listed.
- That can’t be occupied due to being prohibited by law, such as a breach of building regulations.
- That is closed due to the action of public authority such as breaching health and safety regulations.
- That is empty and has a rateable value below the minimum threshold of £2,900.
- That is empty, whose owner is entitled to personal possession.
- That is empty, whose owner is entitled to possession as a trustee under a deed of arrangement.
- That is empty and owned by individuals subject to bankruptcy or a company subject to a winding up order or that is in administration.
Discretionary Relief for Partial Occupation
When the property is partially occupied, such as when some of the space is surplus to requirements, the local council has discretion to grant relief if the property owner applies for an informal split of the assessment to reflect the occupied and unoccupied areas.
Supply and Demand
A property may be removed from the rating list or be subject to a reduced rateable value if it is deemed there is no demand for the property and therefore commands nil rent. The VOA determines whether there is demand or not by considering comparable properties in the locality and whether the absence of demand is due to surplus properties that are similar or due to the owner’s actions.
An exemption exists where a property is empty and the owner is either a charity or a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) and when the property is re-occupied it will be mainly used for either charitable purposes or used for the purposes of a CASC, whether that is the owner occupying or another charity or CASC.