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Empty or unoccupied buildings

Under the current system, empty and unoccupied properties receive either a three month void period (for vacant offices, retail, leisure and motor trade properties) or a six month void period (for vacant industrial properties).  

This void period relates to the property and not the ratepayer so if the property changes hands during this period and remains empty the new ratepayer is only entitled to the remaining balance of the void period.  After the relevant void period expires the empty property will then be liable for 100% of the basic occupied non-domestic rate, so there is no reduction in the amount of rates payable after the initial void period.

From 1 April 2017, the rateable value threshold below which empty properties are exempt from rates is £2,900 (previously from 1 April 2011 this was set at £2,600).  There are a number of existing exemptions, for more information on them please see exempt properties.

Properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs are not liable to empty property rates if the property’s next use is likely to be wholly or mainly for charitable purposes or for the purposes of a sports club.

If your property is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired, you can contact the Valuation Office Agency, who may decide that it should be taken out of the rating list altogether.

Change to Empty Rate Regulations

From 1 April 2024,  a property must be continually occupied for a minimum of 13 weeks to benefit from either a three month void period or a six month void period when a property becomes empty.

Contact us - Business Rates

0845 300 5562
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

South Oxfordshire District Council
PO Box 162