Exempt properties

Business Rates - exemption for occupied and unoccupied properties

Some hereditaments (or properties) are exempt from non-domestic rates. These include some hereditaments which are occupied and most empty hereditaments. There are several classes of exemption, some of which only apply for a specified length of time.

Unoccupied Properties (and substantially unfurnished)

Classification of Business Rates exemptions on unoccupied properties

Class and Description 

a - Hereditaments unoccupied for a continuous period not exceeding three months

b - Industrial hereditaments (i.e. where no part has been constructed or adapted for the purpose of retailing goods or services)  that has been unoccupied for a continuous period not exceeding six months

c - Hereditaments where occupation is prohibited by law

d - Hereditaments where occupation is prohibited by action taken by the Crown or any local or public authority

e - Listed buildings (subject to a preservation notice under Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990)

f - Ancient monuments (as scheduled under s.1 to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979) 

g - Hereditaments with a rateable value of less than £2,600 (From 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011 only this limit will be increased to hereditaments with rateable values under £18,000)

h - Unoccupied hereditaments where the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person

i - Unoccupied hereditaments where the owner is subject to a bankruptcy order or a winding-up order under the Insolvency Act 1986

j - Unoccupied hereditaments where the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as a trustee under a deed of arrangement to which the Deeds of Arrangement Act 1914 applies

k - Unoccupied hereditaments where the owner is a company subject to a winding-up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986 or is being wound up voluntarily under that Act

l - Unoccupied hereditaments where the owner is a company in administration within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986 or is subject to an administration order made under the former administration provisions within the meaning of article 3 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2003

m - Unoccupied hereditaments where the owner is entitled to possession of the hereditament in his capacity as liquidator by virtue of an order made under section 112 or section 145 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Occupied Properties

Classification of Business Rates exemptions on occupied properties

Class and Description

1. Agricultural land and buildings (e.g. arable, meadow or pasture ground; buildings used in connection with agricultural operations on the land and with the keeping and breeding of livestock)

2. Fish Farms

3. Fishing rights (where these are exercisable in a fishery which is regulated by specified legislation)

4. Places of religious worship (where these belong to the Church of England or the Church in Wales. For other religions, the property concerned must be certified under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855. This exemption includes church halls and similar buildings [provided they are used in connection with a place of public religious worship])

5. Trinity House property (e.g. lighthouses; buoys and beacons)

6. Sewers and accessories (e.g. drains; sewers; manholes; ventilating shafts and pumps. The exemption does not apply to sewage farms or sewage disposal works)

7. Property of Drainage Authorities (e.g. structures used for controlling or regulating the flow of water into or out of a watercourse on a main river)

8. Parks (provided they are under the management of a relevant authority and are available for free and unrestricted use by members of the public)

9. Property used for the disabled (e.g. properties providing facilities for the welfare and training of disabled persons)

10. Air raid protection works (e.g. air raid shelters)

11. Swinging Moorings (i.e. a buoy attached to an anchor which rests underwater)

12. Road crossings over watercourses (e.g. bridges, viaducts or tunnels constructed to allow river crossings)

13. Property in Enterprise Zones 

The above classes are stated in broad terms. Within each of the classes, a number of conditions may need to be met before the exemption is satisfied. If you require further details about any of these classes, please contact the non-domestic rates section.

Last reviewed: 09 - 01 - 2014

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