Business rates relief for empty properties

A decision in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) suggests that business rates may be payable even where an intended occupant is carrying out substantial refurbishment works and cannot use the property for its intended purpose until the works are complete. If the intended occupant has particular requirements which other potential occupants would not have, the property may still be deemed to be capable of beneficial occupation.

In this case, the tenant needed to reinstall a high voltage electricity supply and factory lighting before it could start its manufacturing business. The tribunal found that the tenant was in beneficial occupation whilst the works took place and there was no ground for removing the property from the rating list.