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Non-Domestic Vacant Rating
Since 1 April 2004, the rating of vacant non-domestic property has been in place to encourage properties to be brought back into use. There are no vacant rates payable for a property with a Net Annual Value (NAV) of less than £2,000. For properties with a NAV of £2,000 or more rates are not payable for three months from either the date a non-domestic property becomes empty or, in the case of a property which has never been occupied, the date Land & Property Services (LPS) has determined the property to be completed.
After the three month free period, rates will be billed at 50 per cent of the normal occupied amount. Please note the property must then be occupied for at least six weeks before a further three month free period can be applied.
What is meant by vacant?
Generally a property will be considered vacant for rating purposes where it is unoccupied, unfurnished and not used for storage purposes.
Who will have to pay non-domestic vacant rates?
The person entitled to possession of the property - this is usually the owner but may be the leaseholder. This person is also responsible for informing LPS of any changes which may affect eligibility to an exclusion from rates.
How are non-domestic properties valued?
A non-domestic property is assessed on the basis of its rental value -- known as the Net Annual Value (NAV). Some non-domestic properties require specialist assessment to reflect particular characteristics for example; schools, licensed premises and factories. Each property is valued in line with other comparable properties in the area. LPS will classify and distinguish (describe) a property according to its characteristics. This description will be set in line with the principle that property should be valued in its current state and as if it were put to its best use.
You must inform LPS if there are any physical alterations to the property or changes in the use of the property which may affect the valuation.
How do I inform LPS that my property is vacant?
The person who is responsible for the payment of rates on the property must notify LPS immediately of any changes that may affect their liability.
If your property is unoccupied, unfurnished and not used for storage purposes you are required to complete the following declaration to confirm the property is vacant. LPS will not make any changes to your account without a signed declaration and you will not be able to avail of the three-month vacant free period (if applicable) and the 50% reduction in rates for the period of vacancy.
Please note this declaration is to be completed by all non-domestic properties.
Is there a threshold to which non-domestic vacant rating applies?
Any empty property with a rateable NAV below £2,000 will not be charged rates. This exclusion is automatically applied following LPS receiving notification that the property is vacant.
Are rates payable on vacant land?
It depends. For vacant property rates to be charged there must be a vacant building. Anyone owning or leasing disused car parks and yards may be charged occupied rates.
I don't think my property would be able to command a rent in its current physical state. What should I do?
Persons entitled to possession of derelict buildings who believe that their property is not capable of commanding a rent in its existing state should contact the LPS helpline on Tel 0300 200 7801 (calls charged at local rate). You can apply to your local district valuer for a review of your property assessment. Please note that you must continue to pay your rates bill while there is an ongoing application for a re-valuation of your property - you will be refunded any overpayment.
Am I eligible for Non-Domestic Rating if my property is being revalued?
If your property is unoccupied, unfurnished and not used for storage purposes you can complete a declaration stating your property is vacant. Please note, you must continue to pay your rates bill whilst there is an active application with your local valuation office. Any overpayments made will be refunded.
For more help and advice regarding NDVR, you can contact LPS on Tel 0300 200 7801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the difference between Non-Domestic Vacant Rating and a Non Domestic Vacant Rating Exclusion?
All non-domestic properties that are unoccupied, unfurnished and not used for storage with an NAV over £2000 can avail of a three-month vacant period plus 50% reduction every month thereafter. For non-domestic vacant properties with an NAV under £2000, they will receive a 100% reduction towards vacant rates.
Applying for Non-Domestic Vacant Rating exclusion
There are a number of exclusions to Non-Domestic Vacant Rating. To qualify the property must:
- have a NAV of £2,000 or over
- be unoccupied
- be unfurnished
- not used for storage; and
- meet one of the exclusion criteria below
The exclusions are:
- Qualifying Industrial Hereditament
- The property cannot be legally occupied by you or anyone else
- The empty property cannot be occupied by you or anyone else due to the actions of a public body with a view to purchasing it
- Local Enterprise Agency (LEA)
- Property is a listed building or is subject of a Building Preservation Notice
- Property is a Historic Monument
- Property is the responsibility of the Personal Representatives of a Deceased Person
- Trustee Under Deeds of Arrangement
- Company in Administration
- Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission
- Bankruptcy Order
- Insolvency or Winding-up Order
Further help and advice on Non-Domestic Vacant Rating
NDVR is a complicated area and you may wish to contact your local LPS regional office for further help and advice:
- Find an email address for your local LPS regional office
- Tel 0300 200 7801 (charged at local rate)
- Tel +44 28 9049 5794 if calling from outside the UK
- Text relay 18001 0300 200 7801
Please note: LPS Customer Information Centres will be closed until further notice. All Ordnance Survey services are available online or you can email queries to Mapping.Helpdesk@finance-ni.gov.uk. Helplines for rating and valuation, housing benefit, rates relief and land registration are open.
Further information on service updates, helpline numbers and reaching LPS by email are available on the LPS website.