(Section 44a of the Local Government Finance Act 1988)
A ratepayer is liable for the full business rates whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied.
However, if your property is partly occupied and, a clearly defined area is going to be left empty for a short period of time only, the Council has the discretion to award part occupied relief. If the Council decides to allow the relief it will request that the Valuation Office Agency provides a section 44A certificate which apportions the property's rateable value between its occupied and unoccupied parts. These temporary apportioned values will enable the Council to calculate your relief entitlement but do not replace the value in the rating list. Once your relief has been calculated, a revised demand will be issued showing your entitlement.
The period of relief will end on the day that there is a change in the extent of the partial occupation or 31st March in the financial year in which relief is applied for or the premises become completely occupied or unoccupied. You must tell the Business Rates section immediately if there is any change to the partial occupation.
This is a discretionary power and to allow part occupied relief the Council must be satisfied that the property is part occupied and that the part occupation is for a short period of time only. Examples where relief would be considered are:
- You are moving into the whole premises gradually over a period of time.
- You are vacating the premises gradually over a period of time.
- A temporary downturn in business has caused the part occupation.
- Temporary part occupation necessary to allow remedial building or refurbishment works due to fire damage or similar.
The Council will arrange an inspection of the property to verify the part occupation so you must apply as soon as possible as retrospective applications cannot be considered.
If you consider that the part occupation will not be for a short period of time and is not suitable for part occupation relief you should contact the Valuation Office Agency to request that the rating assessment is split, creating two new separate assessments. We will then issue separate rates demands for each part and allow empty property rates relief of the unoccupied assessment. Details of how to do this can be found in the 'How do I appeal?' section on the rateable value page of this website.
Please note whilst your application is being processed, your current rates are due and payable
If you wish to apply for this relief, please complete the application form in the 'Do it online' section of this page.
You will be required to provide the following information to support your application:
- A detailed plan of the premises clearly identifying the occupied and empty parts and the exact measurements of each area. Two copies will be required unless sent by email. A visit to the property will be required to confirm the details shown on the plan.
- The date the part occupation commenced.
- The reasons why the property is temporarily part occupied.
- The future plans for the unoccupied part / parts of the premises and the date when the part occupation is to cease. This may be details of reoccupation or details of when the whole property is to be vacated.
If the partial use of the property is due to a phased occupation or vacation of the property, separate plans for each stage will be required, separate visits to the property will also be required at each stage.