Empty Property Rating

Most properties that have been empty for more than three months or, in the case of industrial property, for more than six months, no longer receives relief from rates.

After the initial three or six month rate-free period expires, empty property is liable for 100% of the basic occupied business rate unless it:

  • qualifies for an exemption from rates under the NNDR (Unoccupied Property) Regulations 1989 (S.I. 2261). These exemptions include that the property is listed; or subject to a building preservation notice; or that the lease to the property is held by a company in administration
  • qualifies for the new zero rate provided by the Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007. From 1 April 2008, the rates 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
  • has a rateable value of less than £2,600

If your property is not capable of beneficial occupation; for instance, if it is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired, the valuation officer may judge that it should be taken out of the rating list altogether. However, please be aware that if the state of your property is damaged for the purposes of avoiding rates, under new anti-avoidance legislation introduced by the Government, your valuation officer will be required to disregard the change in the property's state when assessing its rateable value.

So for instance, if the roof is removed from an empty property for the purpose of avoiding rates, it may be valued as if the roof had not been removed.

The changes to empty property relief are not grounds for appeal. If you disagree with your rateable value you can challenge it by making a 'proposal' against it to your local valuation office. Your right of appeal is not affected by the reforms to empty property relief. You can either contact Mole Valley District Council or the local valuation office for further information about the arrangements for making proposals.

To attract a second exempt period of three months, a property must have been occupied for at least six weeks (42 days).

How to apply

To apply for empty property rating, please complete an 'NNDR Empty Rate Application' form (see 'Downloads'), and return it to the address provided. If you have any queries, please email business.rates@molevalley.gov.uk.