7 March 2024

Changes to Empty Rates Relief in England from 1 April 2024

Business Rates, Commercial, Industry News, SHW News

The government announced at the Spring Budget on 6th March 2024 that there would be changes in how owners of empty commercial property can reduce their business rates liability.

Since 2008, after an initial period of relief, owners have been liable for 100% business rates whilst a property is vacant. 


Luke Longley, Associate at SHW, says: “The legislation allowed for a 'reset' of the relief if the property was occupied for six weeks. After the six weeks of occupation the owner would then receive three months (six months for industrial) relief. This process could be repeated as many times as needed until the owner found a long-term tenant. Typically, this provided for a 65% reduction in business rates.” 


The changes announced at the budget have extended the six week 'reset' period to 13 weeks. As the owner still pays rates for the occupation period, this means overall that more rates will be paid and only a 50% discount can be achieved on average. 


The treasury estimates this will produce an additional £40 million in tax revenues each year. 


So what should owners do? 


Luke adds: “Speak to SHW. In most cases, we have already been advising clients to not use the above methods and instead seek a complete removal of business rates where a property is vacant. This results in a 100% discount in rates payable and significantly less administration for our clients.”


SHW are experts in providing advice to owners, landlords and developers and in the last financial year have saved clients over £10 million in rates. 


Get in contact today and we will be happy to discuss your portfolio and how you can minimise the rates you pay.