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Luton Borough Council

Empty property rate relief

For most types of business premises, you don't have to pay business rates for the first three months they are unoccupied.

For some industrial properties, such as factories and warehouses, we extend this to six months.

We only allow one rate-free period each time a property becomes unoccupied. So, if you take over a property that is already unoccupied, you will only benefit from this allowance for the remainder of the three or six month period.

After this period, for most properties, you will have to pay rates in full.

Empty property rate relief for new builds

The government has introduced a new measure to extend the empty property rate relief for empty new build properties

Empty new builds that are complete on or after 1 October 2013, will now be exempt from payment of empty property rates for up to 18 months, up to state aid limits, between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016. The 18 month period includes the initial three or six month exemption. The relief will continue beyond 31 October 2016 for those properties that become eligible before that date. To apply for this relief please contact us.


Some properties do not have to pay business rates when unoccupied, these include:
  • listed buildings and ancient monuments
  • land (such as surface car parks)
  • properties where the law forbids occupation
  • where the crown or a local authority has taken action with a view to forbidding occupation of the property, or to acquiring it
  • properties where the ratepayer is the personal representative of someone who has died
  • where the person entitled to possess the property is subject to bankruptcy or winding up proceedings
  • properties with a rateable value of less than a specified amount. From 1 April 2011, the government has set the value at £2,600
  • agricultural land and premises
  • premises used for public religious worship
  • Properties that are wholly used for the training, welfare and other associated services for disabled people
These last three are also exempt when occupied.
If you are responsible for paying rates on an unoccupied property and think you may be entitled to one of the above exemptions, contact us.
Contact info
Business rates
Luton Borough Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 0300 7900349 or minicom 01582 414367
Fax: 01582 546977
[email protected]


© 2022 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ