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Unoccupied property relief:

You will not pay business rates in the first three months that a property is empty and six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this time, unless your property has a Rateable Value of less than £2,900 (£2,600 up to 31 March 2017), you must pay rates in full.

Other exemptions may apply.

In most cases, the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs.

Partly occupied property relief:

You are liable for the full non-domestic rate if your property is wholly occupied or partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time only, we have discretion to award relief for the unoccupied part.

Empty New Build Commercial Properties:

The Government has funded an extension to the initial exemption from empty property rates, on all newly built commercial property, classed as substantially complete on a date, between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016.  The relief would be granted for a maximum period of 18 months, whilst the property remained unoccupied.  If you wish to apply for relief in these circumstances, please complete this form

Small business rate relief

The Government has uprated the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme from 1 April 2017; this is available to ratepayers with either:

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 (and who are not entitled to other mandatory relief or are liable for unoccupied property rates) will have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier (46.6p in 2017/2018), rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier (47.9p in 2017/2018).

In addition, you may receive a 100% reduction in your rate bill if your Rateable Value is below £12,000 and if your Rateable Value is between £12,001 and £14,999 you will receive a percentage/phased reduction in your bill up to 100%.

The small business rate relief scheme is funded by a supplement on the rate bill of all businesses not eligible for relief. This is built into the standard multiplier (47.9p in 2017/2018).

You must let us know of changes in your circumstances within four weeks of the day they happened if:

  1. You take occupation of another property that you did not occupy at the time of making the application for relief, and
  2. The Rateable Value of a property occupied by you in an area outside the Borough increases.

If you wish to claim small business rate relief, please complete this form.

The Government has introduced additional support to small businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, businesses will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.

Charity relief, relief for registered community amateur sport clubs (CASCs) and discretionary relief

Charities and certain non-profit making organisations are entitled to a reduction on Non-Domestic Rates for properties occupied for charitable purposes. There are two types of relief, Mandatory and Discretionary. Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) are also entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property wholly or mainly used for the purposes of that club or other such registered club

Mandatory Relief

Your organisation must be a charity or trustees for a charity or a registered community amateur sports club, and

If the property is unoccupied you may still qualify for relief so long as it appears that when next used the property will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purpose.  

Note, if we cannot establish regular use of the premises or expected regular use, or if the use made is very erratic, we may decide relief is not appropriate.

Discretionary Relief

The Council will also consider granting Discretionary Relief of:

(a) Occupy a property where all or part is occupied for the purposes of one or more institutions or other organisations which are not established or conducted for profit and their main objects are charitable or are otherwise philanthropic or religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts; or

(b) a property which is wholly or mainly used for purposes of recreation, and all or part of it is occupied for the purpose of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit.

Important Information:

The Charity Commission offers the following advice to charities in relation to entering into any tenancy agreements to occupy empty properties; the commission advises that the charity trustees must:

The Charity Commission has been made aware of a number of charities who have entered tenancy agreements and is examining whether the trustees of the charities involved have properly discharged their trustee duties when making the decisions to occupy those properties to further their charitable purposes, and whether any benefit to the landlord is incidental to that.

For more information about any relief, contact our business rates team on 01329 824651 or by email to



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Tel: +44 (0) 1329 236100 | Mobile Text/Photo: 07876 131415 | Fax: +44 (0) 1329 821770
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