It is important for many to remind themselves of the current position on ratings relief for vacant properties. Currently, ratings relief for vacant properties are governed by legislative instruments, they are often complex and difficult to follow.
As an overview, the legislation states that where a property is unoccupied, the owning ratepayer and the property appears on the non-domestic ratings list then unless it falls within a list of exceptions, the ratepayer must pay non-domestic rates on that property.
There is however an exception, which refers to a hereditament, meaning that the property has been unoccupied for a continuous period but this period can not exceed three months. This exception is commonly known as empty rates relief.
As many of us are now aware, on March 20th 2020, the Prime Minister announced that all pubs, cinemas, theatres and nightclubs, among others, will be closing from that evening. In effect, this means that thousands of properties are now unoccupied for an undetermined amount of time. Empty rates relief, will, therefore, be of comfort to some ratepayers, however, there will undoubtedly be others who do not fall within the requisite criteria.
For ratepayers looking to claim this relief, or for those looking to explore other options of support during this time, our experienced team remain working from home and are able to advise you on the best route for you to take.