Businesses moving into premises which have been empty for 12 months or more and were previously in retail use, will be eligible for 50 per cent relief on their business rates. If you are in doubt about whether the property qualifies as being 'in retail use' previously, please contact us. The newly occupying business does not need to be a retail business.
The relief will be available for 18 months as long as the first day of occupation falls between 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016 and the property remains occupied. The relief is granted on the property, so if a new occupier moves in the relief will continue until the end of the term.
The relief available for each property will be 50 per cent of the business rates liability after any mandatory or other discretionary reliefs (other than retail relief) have been applied, up to state aid limits.
We will need to ensure the property was genuinely empty previously and that the subsequent occupation is genuine. This may require examination of leases/tenancy agreements and/or involve visiting the premises.
The grant of the relief is discretionary and we have the right refuse an application, for example where granting the relief would go against the authority’s wider objectives for the local area or where it would not help a shopping area to thrive.
Some businesses will not be eligible to apply and these include but are not limited to, businesses being wholly or mainly used as betting shops, payday loan shops, and pawn brokers.
This relief is administered under the local discount powers contained in Section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.
How to apply
If you think this relief applies to your business, complete the application form and return it to us.