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We consider temporary reductions in rates when you are only occupying part of a property, known as Section 44a relief.

To qualify for relief you must be able to demonstrate:

  • part of your property is empty - a formal split of the assessment by the Valuation Office is not suitable
  • the part of your property not in use is unoccupied for a temporary period only

Applications must be supported by a plan showing occupied and unoccupied areas.

Section 44a relief can be awarded for:

  • up to three months for a commercial property
  • up to six months for an industrial property

When your assessment has a rateable value of less than £2,900 or is a listed building, relief may be considered for a longer period.

Please note that any application for 44a relief must be made at the time the property first became part occupied.


How to apply

Please register on our customer portal and provide the information detailed below:

Please include:

  • the period for the relief
  • the reasons for why the relief should be given and the circumstances leading to the partial occupation
  • a plan of the rated premises which clearly identifies the occupied and unoccupied areas
  • a declaration as to the amount of de minimis aid the applicant or any other organisation in its group under the "notified scheme" or "block exemption scheme" as prescribed by the EU in the last three years (please see Guidance on state aid rules)

The premises will need to be inspected in order to verify the information that has been provided.

If we decide to grant the relief, we will ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to apportion the rateable value of the property between the occupied and unoccupied parts. Relief will only be granted on the unccupied part for up to three months (six months for industrial property). This mirrors the statutory exemptions for empty premises.

If you do apply for Section 44a relief, please continue to pay your business rates as shown on your bill whilst your application is being processed. 

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