Empty Rates Mitigation

Business rates remain a costly (and unfair) property tax on vacant commercial space for property companies, developers and pension funds, and occupiers with surplus or ‘legacy’ accommodation.

Empty rates mitigation is a darker shade of the specialist area of rating it requires technical expertise, a detailed understanding of rating legislation and a degree of lateral thinking beyond the conventional approach; the other crucial element is a collaborative working relationship with our clients.

The processes applied by the Valuation Office Agency, actions of the billing authorities and interpretation of case law continue to influence:

1. The point at which new developments can be deemed complete for rating purposes;

2. The circumstances that can lead to the deletion/zero value of a Rating List entry;

3. Legitimate ways in which reliefs can be applied/re-applied.

The Canary Wharf and Newbigin v Monk case decisions in favour of the ratepayers provide clarity on commercial buildings undergoing refurbishment or redevelopment works; even so, there will continue to be situations pre-deletion or post-completion that incur an empty rates liability.

Each property situation requires a specific ER mitigation game-plan that considers:

• The earliest point to delete an assessment
• Rating valuation issues
• Deferring an entry in the Rating List
• Occupation prohibited by law
• Properties beyond economic repair
• The parameters of ‘beneficial occupation’

Intermittent Occupation

Empty rate relief periods can be reset following a short statutory period of ‘rateable’ occupation.

This component of an empty rates mitigation strategy benefits from a planned approach and a managed process, to ensure the void periods are applied successfully. Intermittent occupation solutions can utilise internal resources (where practical) or via our tried and tested external service providers.

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For further information on empty rates mitigation matters, please contact a member of our team on 020 7183 8242

Simon Lees

Partner & Head of Business Rates

Simon is a founding member of BGL Partners and heads...


Simon Lees

Position: Partner & Head of Business Rates
Phone: 020 7183 8161
Email: sl@bglpartners.co.uk

Simon is a founding member of BGL Partners and heads the Rating business of the firm. He is a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Chris Corney-Loates


Chris joined BGL Partners in December 2019 after spending almost...


Chris Corney-Loates

Position: Partner
Phone: 020 3867 9980
Email: cc@bglpartners.co.uk

Chris joined BGL Partners in December 2019 after spending almost five years within Cushman & Wakefield’s Statutory Valuations team, in which he specialised in Business Rates and on Compulsory Purchase.

Chris has provided advice in both the public and private sectors nationally, with a particular focus on central London offices.

Whilst his primary expertise lies in the office sector, he has also attained valuable experience within retail and industrial markets, which has included large pharmaceutical sites, trade counter portfolios and even police stations.

He is a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Business Rates – Commercial Agency – Lease Advisory