Business and investment Empty property and business rates

A property is classed as empty (unoccupied) if it isn't being used and all stock and effects have been removed apart from fixtures and fittings (for example, shop counters, or built in display units).  

If a property is being used for storage purposes, then full business rates must be paid.

From the date that a property becomes empty, we do not charge business rates for the first three months. After this, a 100% business rate charge applies.

Some properties can get extended empty property relief:

  • industrial properties (for example warehouses) are exempt for a further three months. See definitions
  • listed buildings or ancient monuments - until they're reoccupied
  • buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 - until they're reoccupied
  • properties owned by charities - only if the property's next use will be wholly or mainly for charitable purposes
  • community amateur sports club buildings - only if the next use will be wholly or mainly as a sports club
  • where the occupation of the property is prohibited by law
  • where the liable party or their representative is covered by the Insolvency Act 1986
  • where the liable party is in possession as a representative of a deceased person

Or you can email us at We may need to ask you for further evidence or arrange to inspect the property.

See how to check, challenge or appeal a rateable value

Bringing vacant properties back into use

We want to encourage you to bring vacant shops, offices, factories and warehouses back into use. Owners can re-let, redevelop or sell unused property. This keeps buildings in use and reduces rent for businesses (the more business premises the lower the rents), as well as reducing the need for development on greenfield land.

Mandatory rate relief for empty charities and sports clubs

If your property is empty, you can still claim mandatory rate relief.

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