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The Law Society - Conveyancing




New Build Empty Property Relief

Following a positive response to the consultation announced in December 2012, the government has announced a scheme to provide exemption from empty property rates on new build properties for the first 18 months, up to state aid limits. The scheme is designed to stimulate construction by reducing the risk of paying empty property rates on newly built commercial property, and is intended to cover new-build rather than development property.

The move follows a detailed and technical consultation on all connected issues relating to the implementation of the policy received 143 responses from a variety of sources, largely Local Authorities and individual business organisations.  Full details of the response to the consultation can be found at:

The scheme has been undertaken under authorities’ discretionary powers as a temporary measure to avoid the need for complex litigation and  in light of the responses the government considers that the definition deals adequately in relation to splits, mergers and changes to existing hereditaments.

The government considered additional concerns raised by authorities around determining eligibility at the point where the ratings list is altered and found that local authorities deal with such issues in the normal course of business and that it is for them to determine whether they have sufficient information to determine eligibility for granting the relief.

For advice on commercial property matters, please contact Christopher Johnson, Michael Crisp or Judith Bleetman, partners, at the Cockfosters and Barnet offices.

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