Empty pub rates hit imminent

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Real estate Property Taxation in the united kingdom John healey

Empty pub rates hit imminent
Regulations have been laid in Parliament to enable the introduction of reforms to empty property rates on April 1. The most significant change is...

Regulations have been laid in Parliament to enable the introduction of reforms to empty property rates on April 1.

The most significant change is the scrapping of relief rates on empty property. Under the revised system, full business rates apply to commercial property left vacant for more than three months.

Local Government minister John Healey has defended the unpopular measures, saying that the changes are designed to revitialise run-down communities and ensure the effective and efficient use of buildings.

The changes will penalise property landlords who have no choice but to leave a premises empty, or who close to refurbish for more than three months.

The legislation may cause a lot of empty pubs to hit the market in the coming months as operators dodge the charges.

Konrad Szymanski, of Humberstones, said: "The Chancellor's announcement to remove tax relief on empty properties will inflict added pressure on licensees and developers who may look for longer less flexible leases, increased levels of rent, or inflated purchase prices to compensate."

John Healey said: "These changes to empty property rates will encourage owners to keep their premises in use, revitalising deprived areas as new businesses move in bringing much-needed employment opportunities, and making these towns and cities better places in which to live."

The reforms:

•Increase the empty property rate from 50% to 100% of the basic occupied business rate, to encourage owners to re-let, re-develop or sell their properties to reduce the need for new development on Greenfield sites

•Provide a new power to reduce the empty property rate, to enable ministers to respond to changing conditions in the property market

•Allow for measures to be implemented to tackle deliberate dereliction by ensuring those who deliberately render their property beyond economic repair continue to be liable for empty property rates

•Extend the exemption from empty property rates to companies in administration, as well as those in liquidation.

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