Part-occupied property relief

We will only consider applications for this relief if the unoccupied areas will be vacant for a short time only. This means for no more than six months in any 12-month period.

If the partial occupation is going to last longer, the Valuation Office Agency may be able to value the unoccupied area separately. Contact the Valuation Office Agency to find out more.

We cannot consider retrospective claims. Do not apply for part-occupied property relief after your premises have become fully occupied.

This is a discretionary power and Reading Borough Council must be satisfied that the property is part occupied.

The council has discretion to accept or refuse such a request. When determining a discretionary award of rate relief we will consider the interests of our Council Tax payers. We will decide the award when the benefits of doing so are considered to outweigh any detriment to those interests,

Who can apply

You can apply for relief on premises that are partly unoccupied if you are:

  • moving into the whole premises gradually over a period of time
  • moving out of the whole premises gradually over a period of time
  • occupying the property temporarily, for example, because your usual premises are being rebuilt or refurbished, because of fire damage or similar.

Read about Subsidy Control

How to apply

You must put a request in writing to the authority including a plan of the property clearly marking the areas that are occupied and unoccupied. The plan must include the full measurements. A plan will also be required to show how it is intended to bring the unoccupied part back into use and within what timescales.

Applications can be sent to:   Please state ‘Section 44A’ in the subject area.

We will then arrange to view the premises and confirm the details of the plan.

If you send us any follow-on applications for different parts of the same premises because you are moving around within the premises, you must explain clearly:

  • why these changes to your business are required
  • why this has led to another part of the premises now being temporarily unoccupied.

You must keep paying your business rates while we are making a decision on your application.

Start and end dates

If you are awarded relief, it will usually start from the date of your application. The maximum award period is three months (or six months for industrial property).

The period of relief will end on the day one or more of the following happens:

  • there is a change in the extent of your partial occupation
  • the rate period (1 April to 31 March in any year) that applies to the relief ends
  • a new period of relief under a new application starts
  • the premises become completely occupied or completely unoccupied.

You must tell us immediately if the unoccupied area starts being used.

What happens next 

If we decide to grant the relief, we’ll tell the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA will issue a certificate to confirm the premises are part-occupied (a Section 44a certificate). We’ll then send you a new business rates bill.

If we do not grant relief, you have no formal right of appeal. However, you can contact us and ask for the decision to be reviewed by another officer.

Last updated on 24/03/2023