Back
We continue to provide our legal services through the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit our COVID-19 Hub for legal insights, or contact us directly.
Get in Touch Menu

Maximising empty rates relief

20 November 2012

The recent case of Makro Properties Limited and another v Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council provides businesses with an opportunity to save business rates by extending empty rates relief.

Commercial property qualifies for 100 per cent relief for the first three months, after falling empty (six months for industrial property) after which full business rates apply.  But if the property is re-occupied for six weeks or more before again falling empty, then another six-month exemption applies. There appears to be no limit as to how many times this can be done.

In the case, following the surrender of their lease, Makro stored a few pallets of archived documents for six months at the premises by arrangement with their landlord. When that licence expired, they applied for a further six month rate-free period. The council refused but Makro challenged and won on appeal.

Even though the stored documents occupied only 0.2 per cent of the warehouse’s floor space, the court ruled that this amounted to ‘actual occupation’ for the purposes of business rates. Therefore a new period of empty rates relief applied when that occupation ended.

The decision means that a landlord seeking to minimise the burden of rates on empty premises can let the property on a short-term basis of six weeks or more, then successfully trigger a fresh period of empty rates relief. Even if the main aim of the letting is to gain empty rates relief, it will be successful. Providing certain conditions can be met, the landlord will successfully be able to claim for empty rates relief when the occupation comes to an end. We are happy to advise further.

As always, if you need commercial and pragmatic legal advice, we’re here to help so please get in touch.

Contact us

Contact
Alasdair Garbutt LLB (Hons)
Partner
View profile
Alasdair Garbutt
Related services
Share this article
Resources to help

Related articles

Commercial landlords & tenants: What are your options?

Commercial property

Commercial property solicitor Emma Thompson answers some key pandemic-related questions for landlords and tenants in the commercial sphere. I am a tenant, do I have to pay my rent? If…

Emma Thompson LLB (Hons)
Solicitor

Planning use classes overhaul: COVID-19 sparks major change

Commercial property

From 1 September 2020, the categories under the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes Order) 1987 are changing to create two new use classes. It is hoped that the overhaul…

Charlotte Brunsdon LLB, BA (Hons)
Solicitor

COVID-19: a commercial property update for landlords & tenants

Commercial property

As you will be aware from some of our previous updates, a number of measures have been put in place to give businesses the breathing space and tools they need…

Emma Thompson LLB (Hons)
Solicitor
Contact us