Being legally responsible for an empty property, most likely means being liable to pay empty rates on it and our empty rates mitigation service can reduce this cost significantly.
On 1 April 2008, the Government enacted a major change to business rates payable on empty commercial properties. Since then empty rates are payable at a full 100% of occupied rates after the expiry of an initial void period, which may be either 3 months or 6 months, depending upon the type of property. There are further, albeit very limited, exemptions available for listed buildings, land and small properties. Charitable organisations may also receive some relief, although extreme care should be taken, as complex limitations apply.
We have advised hundreds of businesses in respect of empty rates matters over the last 10 years to help mitigate, or in some cases even eradicate the payment of empty rates altogether. All advice provided and strategies adopted are legitimate and conform to established legislative provisions and / or principles established by the Courts.
Proper advice from a suitably qualified professional should be taken in all circumstances, as if a problem does arise, the outcome will likely be a rapid return to the full 100% charge with limited rights of redress. Implementation of most strategies are time specific, with an inability to retrospectively alter the occupation or facts surrounding a property so a proactive approach is key to achieving the best result.
Over the last 10 years, Sanderson Weatherall has developed a range of legal property strategies to reduce and avoid the payment of empty rates and these range from cross-portfolio advice where contents can be moved to the most suitable properties, to the use of third parties to occupy properties, the identification of reliefs or exemptions that can be claimed and the use of the appeal system to reduce or delete assessments altogether.
It is by no means a case of one shoe fits all and some occupation strategies, the default empty rates mitigation processes for many firms, may be detrimental to the ability to delete an assessment from the Rating List or obtain a permanent relief / exemption. It is therefore crucial to take bespoke professional advice for each situation to achieve the best result.