Operating in a partly occupied building
In most cases you will be liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied.
However if a property is only partly occupied for a short period of time, the council has the discretion to request that the valuation office apportions the property’s rateable value between its occupied and unoccupied parts.
The apportionment means that the empty part of the property will receive a complete exemption from rates for up to three months (or, if it is an industrial property, for six months). After this initial rate-free period expires, in most cases the apportionment will cease to have effect and the occupied business rate will apply to the whole property. This will enable occupiers to benefit from any occupied business rate reliefs to which they are eligible such as small business rate relief – on the whole of the property, not just the occupied part.
However, if the occupier would not be liable for the empty rates on the property because it is exempt or if the property would be zero rated i.e. owned by a charity or trustees for charities or owned by registered Community Amateur Sports Club, the apportionment will continue to have effect and the ratepayer will not be liable for rates on the empty part.
Exceptional circumstances need to apply in order for the council to exercise this discretion.
If you think party occupied relief might apply to you please put your request for relief in writing to the business rates team. Please provide the date that the relevant part of the property became unoccupied; the reason for it becoming unoccupied; and, provide plans of the property, clearly marking out the unoccupied part. Please note if your request is for a backdated period you will need to provide evidence to support your application.
For further information on partly occupied relief please contact the business rates team.