Empty Properties – Rates Mitigation

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News article

Empty properties - rates mitigation

January 2014

commercial news
In April 2008, the Rating (Empty) Property Act came into force removing important Business Rate exemptions and discounts. These punitive changes were introduced just as the property world was spiralling into recession, placing a burden on far more landlords than envisaged when proposed.  
 
Ever since then, we have seen landlords employing imaginative avoidance tactics to benefit from the three months' exemption on commercial properties and six months on industrial properties. Such methods include short-term lettings, use of premises by the owner, charitable lettings and demolition of property.
 
In our experience, each case will have its own unique issues but in most instances the landlord is seeking to let the property to a suitable tenant so an intermittent occupation strategy on flexible terms might be the best solution for landlords. Recently, we have successfully introduced a short-term tenant for a period of 43 days, allowing the landlord to benefit from a rate-free period once again whilst continuously looking for a longer term occupier on suitable terms.  
 
The short-term let was to a provider of bluetooth services who installed their transmitters within the building for the short period. The Local Authority acknowledged their occupation and following termination, the landlord is now benefiting from a further period exempt from Business Rates.
 
For further information contact William Lewis on 01244 409660 email william.lewis@fishergerman.co.uk
 
Click here to read more about Fisher German's commercial services.
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