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  • Writer's pictureRuori McMahon

Thinking of vacating the high street? This might help.

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

There is a shift in customer habits, and the once-bustling town-centre filled with shops, restaurants and people is changing. It’s been underway for quite some time but has been accelerated dramatically over the past three years due to Covid-19.

But what else has brought this change to our high street? While online shopping’s popularity has risen dramatically over the years, the high rateable value’s set on these properties may also be driving existing shop owners away, and putting potential shop owners off moving in.

The government has been aware of this for quite some time, hence the introduction of two forms of relief designed to give added value to high street property, Small Business Rates Relief and Retail Relief:

Small Business rates relief (SBRR):

SBRR applies a discount on business rates to a property that has a rateable value of between £12,000 and £15,000. This discount is on a sliding scale, so the lower the property's rateable value, the larger the discount. A property should be completely exempt from paying any business rates if its value is below £12,000.

Hospitality, Leisure, and Retail relief:

This scheme was adapted from an older relief scheme during the pandemic and includes Retail, leisure, and hospitality sectors. At the start of the pandemic, It allowed for a 100% relief period but is now at a 66% discount until March 2022. It will be further reduced to a 50% discount from April to the tune of £110,000 per eligible business.

But have these schemes affected high street occupancy? It would appear so, with properties unable to attain either of these relief schemes facing a higher vacancy rate than those that do.

In the case of SBRR, trends have been seen where vacancy even correlates with the sliding scale of the relief scheme.

But what if the observations used to determine rateable were incorrect? Most valuations are based on estimates and do not take into consideration outliers that affect the rateable value of a property. A proper assessment could secure relief on properties that have been overlooked, keeping these properties occupied.

Before high business rates vacate you from your property, we’d advise you to get in touch. Any reduction we find can be backdated to the start of the current rating period or the occupancy start date, and if we’re unsuccessful, our service is completely free.

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