The government has reformed empty property rate relief in order to provide a strong incentive to bring empty property back into use. This will help to increase the supply of premises to let, and so reduce business rents and improve the competitiveness of the UK, as well as bringing forward brownfield sites for re-development and so reduce the need for new development on environmentally valuable greenfield land.
From 1 April 2017, most property that has been empty for more than three months or, in the case of industrial property, for more than six months will no longer receive relief from rates. After the initial three or six month rate-free period expires, empty property will be liable for 100% of the basic occupied business rate, unless it qualifies for the new zero rate provided by the Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007.
The exemptions from business rates under (Unoccupied Property) regulations, which provided a permanent exemption from unoccupied rates to industrial properties, will be reduced to six months; the government proposes to preserve the majority of the other existing exemptions unchanged.
The rate liability of empty property that is held by a charity and appears likely to be next used for charitable purposes, or that is held by a community amateur sports club and appears likely to be next used for the purposes of the club, will be reduced from 10% of the basic occupied rate to zero from 1 April 2008
From the 01 April 2017 any empty business property with a rateable value of greater than £2,899 will pay unoccupied business rates (some properties may still be entitled to exemption - see above).
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