Business rates on empty properties

Jun 2, 2021

As a landlord you may have lost income during the pandemic as tenants have left or gone into liquidation. Council tax (for residential properties) and business rates (for commercial premises) remain payable when a building is empty but there may be reliefs available.

Some local authorities allow landlords to claim a discount on council tax for empty residential properties but this varies across the country. It is always worth asking your local council whether they offer such relief.

No business rates are due on an empty commercial property for the first three months it is vacant. This is extended to six months for industrial or warehouse properties. After that period the landlord can claim an extension to this empty-property relief for listed buildings or those with a rateable value under £2,900. Charities and community amateur sports clubs also qualify for some business rates relief.

Where the owner is a company in liquidation or administration and is not occupying the property, business rates will not be due.

Some local authorities have challenged business rates avoidance schemes that use special companies to hold vacant properties. Be aware that use of a business rates avoidance scheme almost certainly will not work.

If you are facing a business rates bill on an empty property you can also contact your local council and claim hardship relief or a discount on those rates.