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Could business rates mitigation reduce your bill?

10th August 2016

A business rates mitigation strategy might be something to consider if you are affected by the dramatic changes to empty property relief which came into force in April 2016. 

Many ratepayers, especially those with vacant industrial properties, have seen their business rates bill skyrocket. 

These changes have further compounded the difficulties already felt by landlords trying to let vacant commercial properties.

Adding to this pain is the two-year postponement of the Rating Revaluation from 2015 to 2017; this has impacted negatively on many businesses because it delayed the re-adjustment of values to reflect market conditions, leaving RVs set at the pre-recession and peak market levels of early 2008.  This has meant rates bills levels remained static and has acted as a major deterrent to attracting occupiers in some locations.

If you are an owner, occupier or landlord facing empty rates charges you should speak to a commercial property advisor to see if there is a way for them to lower your rating liability.  There are various rates mitigation strategies to successfully reduce bills.  For example, we can work within the regulations to re-set the rates free period by finding a short-term occupier for a vacant unit.

There are however various mitigation strategies available and to be effective, a strategy needs to be tailored to each client’s individual situation. In some cases, a mixture of different strategies, including a review of the building/occupation use, might be the most effective way to achieve maximum savings.

Mitigation strategies can include:

  • Arranging short term occupation of the space followed by reoccupation
  • Working with registered charities which require additional space that qualify for charitable relief
  • Assessing how best to use the redundant space within property/ properties
  • Establishing whether the property falls within one of the exempt categories and therefore qualifies for 100% rates relief

The categories are:

  1. Listed Building
  2. Insolvency, bankruptcy or administration
  3. Legal prohibition for occupying the property e.g. no valid fire certificate, essential work is required etc
  4. Properties with rateable value less than £1,700

Ryden's team of rating specialists offer a free rates mitigation strategy consultation to those hit with empty rates to investigate if bills can be reduced. For more information contact Lorna Greig today: lorna.greig@ryden.co.uk / 01224 569668.

 

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Lorna Greig

Lorna has practised in the North East of Scotland for over 25 years and has experience in a wide variety of general practice surveying, specialising in rating appeals and general rating advice, rent reviews and valuations.

She also has considerable experience in telecommunications masts portfolio management.

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