Where a property is partly occupied, the ratepayer has two options in order for the non-domestic rate liability to be reduced.
These options are:
- Where the unoccupied part is likely to remain empty for a long period of time (eg over one year), it may be possible for the ratepayer to apply to the Valuation Officer of the Valuation Office Agency (part of HM Revenue & Customs) for a division of the rating assessment, thereby creating two or more separate assessments.
- If a property is temporarily only partly occupied, it is not always possible or necessary for the Valuation Officer to create two separate assessments in the Rating List. For example, where a company phases its removal from one property to another, it may not be appropriate to have the Rating List amended because the circumstances are not permanent. Where part of a property is unoccupied for only a short time the ratepayer may apply to the Council for relief under the provisions of Section 44A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, as amended by Schedule 1 to the Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007.
The Council has discretion under S44A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, to request the Valuation Office to determine the rateable values of the occupied and unoccupied parts. The unoccupied part of the property will then benefit from a three month exemption from rates, or six months in the case of certain industrial properties. Following the expiry of this exemption period the occupied rates will then apply to the whole property.
Any ratepayer wishing to apply to the Council for relief under Section 44A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 should refer to the Council's agreed policy for information on the application process and the circumstances in which the award of the relief will be considered.
Download the Discretionary Rate Relief Policy (PDF)