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Understanding the nuances of partly occupied property valuations for businesses

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Navigating the complexities of business rates can be a challenging task for any business, especially when dealing with property that is only partially used. There is a solution to this challenge, providing temporary relief for businesses that do not fully occupy their premises.

What is the opportunity?

It applies to properties that are only partially used for a short period. The relief is designed to reduce the rates liability for the unoccupied part of the property, offering a financial respite to businesses undergoing changes like renovations or those facing a downturn in business.

How Does it Work?

  1. Eligibility Criteria: The relief applies to commercial and industrial properties that are partly occupied for a short time. The unoccupied part must be clearly defined and not in use.

  2. Application Process: Businesses must apply to their local authority directly. The application should include evidence that part of the property is unoccupied, along with reasons for the partial occupancy. Please note that each council might have a unique set of requirements for the application.

  3. Valuation Adjustments: Upon approval, the local authority may ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to apportion the rateable value between the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property, leading to a reduction in business rates.

Benefits for Businesses

  • Financial Savings: The most immediate benefit is the reduction in business rates, easing financial burdens during transitional periods.

  • Flexibility: Partly Occupied Relief offers flexibility for businesses undergoing changes, allowing them to adapt their space without incurring full rates on unused areas.

  • Support for Growth: By reducing overhead costs during critical periods, this relief can support businesses in their growth and restructuring efforts.

Common Misconceptions

Despite its benefits, there are several misconceptions surrounding this approach:

  • It is not a permanent solution but a temporary measure for short-term changes.

  • The relief is discretionary; not all applications are automatically approved.

  • Businesses must provide clear evidence of partial occupancy and cannot assume automatic qualification based on neighboring properties' status.

Staying Informed

With business rates legislation continually evolving, it's crucial for businesses to stay informed about their eligibility and the latest changes in relief options. Consulting with a professional, such as a RICS-regulated surveyor or a business rates expert, can provide valuable guidance and ensure that businesses maximize their relief opportunities.

This offers a vital lifeline to businesses facing short-term changes in their property usage. By understanding and utilizing this relief, businesses can significantly reduce their financial pressures, allowing them to focus on growth and stability.

At CPA we specialise in helping businesses navigate the intricacies of business rates and maximise their relief opportunities on any win, no fee basis. Contact us to learn more about how we can assist your business in making the most of your property usage.


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