Whilst the Government have recently introduced a raft of aid for occupiers of commercial property there has been nothing to help Landlords who have vacant property with little prospect of an early letting. When a commercial property becomes vacant the liability for the business rates is passed back to the owner of the premises after an initial period of 3 months relief is applied, this is extended to 6 months if the property is industrial.
The legislation and regulations around empty property can be a minefield and can prove to be a complicated issue for Landlord’s, Developers and Property Companies who wish to minimise their liability.
At Roger Hannah we have considerable experience in assisting clients with mitigating their Empty Rates Liabilities. There are several things to consider and a range of strategies that can be developed to help a client mitigate their liability:
- Temporary Occupation
We can develop a strategy allowing you to benefit from empty rates exemption periods with the potential to reduce your empty rates liability by up to 100%.
Roger Hannah were recently instructed by a North West developer to provide advice and recommendations on a portfolio of vacant commercial stock awaiting redevelopment. During the period before redevelopment works can commence the client had an existing liability for empty rates.
The Business Rates team at Roger Hannah were able to put in place an effective occupation strategy whereby savings in the region of £90,000 were generated for the client.
- Prohibition by Law
This is a complex area of Rating Law and is also known as “Beyond Economic Repair”. A property which is vacant and in disrepair will still have a Rateable Value and therefore empty rates will be payable on the premises.
If disrepair exists, then an appeal can be lodged to delete the assessment from the Rating List which would also remove any empty rates liability.
We have a track record of successfully achieving reductions of 100% on such grounds.
Roger Hannah were instructed to review the Business Rates on a large vacant commercial property in Bolton. The empty rates liability on the property was in excess of £90,000 a year and stretched back to 1st April 2017.
Following an inspection, a building condition report prepared by our Building Surveying team and a detailed Statement of Case submitted, we were successful in demonstrating that this property was Beyond Economic Repair and was deleted from the Raring List with effect from 1st April 2017 generated savings and backdated payments of empty rates in excess of £250,000 for a delighted client.
- Refurbishment / Redevelopment
Properties undergoing significant refurbishments / redevelopment should not be rateable for the duration of the works.
We have vast experience and 100% success rate in dealing with this complex issue.
Roger Hannah are retained by a number of developers and property owners to provide rating advise and lodge appeals on premises which are undergoing works of conversion, redevelopment or refurbishment works.
We were recently involved in a large-scale scheme whereby a dormant former college building was being converted into residential apartments in South Yorkshire. The empty rates liability for the client was in the region of £30,000 per year.
An appeal was submitted on commencement of the scheme of works and successfully agreed a reduction in the Rateable Value to £0 due to the premises being incapable of beneficial occupation.
Roger Hannah are actively involved in undertaking Business Rates appeals on behalf of Landlords and occupiers nationwide and have a high success rate.
If you own or occupy a commercial property and you feel you may be paying too much on your business rates, or unsure whether your rateable value is correct, for a free initial consultation, please contact our specialist Business Rates team.