There are a number of different circumstances in which business rate reductions or relief apply.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Unoccupied property rating

You will not have to pay business rates for the first three months after a property becomes empty, as long as it has been previously occupied for a minimum of six weeks and one day. After three months, an empty property rate (100 per cent of the occupied charge) has to be paid.

Certain Industrial properties are empty exempt for up to six months, when full rates then become payable. Listed buildings and small properties with rateable values of less than £2,900, pay no empty property rates even after the first three months have expired.

The government has introduced a new temporary measure for unoccupied new builds from October 2013. They will be exempt from unoccupied rates for up to 18 months (up to state aid limits) where the property comes onto the list between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016.

The 18 month period includes the initial three or six month exemption and so properties may, if unoccupied, be exempt from non-domestic rates for up to an extra 12 or 15 months.

2. Charitable and discretionary relief

Charities are entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. The discount is 80% of the bill.

You can apply using the mandatory relief application form:

We have the discretion to give a discount on the remaining bill for charities, or for properties occupied by certain non-profit making bodies. We can also consider giving rate relief in cases of hardship or where part of a property is beyond use for a certain period.

You can apply using the discretionary relief application form:

3. Appealing your business rates or rateable value

Check, challenge and appeal

You can find and review your rateable value on the Valuation Office Agency's website.

If you think that your 2017 rateable value is not correct, follow the instructions provided on the site. You will need to do the following:

  • Check – review and confirm the facts about your property held by the VOA
  • Challenge – once the facts are established, explain why you believe your valuation is wrong.

The VOA will change your rateable value if they agree it’s wrong. If they don't agree and you have grounds to appeal, you can make an appeal to them. You must continue to pay your rates bill during the appeal.

Information supplied with demand notices

You can read about our gross expenditure online or request a hard copy by calling us on 020 8315 2255 or emailing .

4. Small business rate relief

From 1 April 2017 you won’t pay business rates on a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

The small business rate relief will be available to you if you have a property with a rateable value between £12,001 and £15,000. The rate of relief will go down gradually from 100 per cent to zero per cent.

If you use more than one property you’ll keep getting any existing relief on your main property for 12 months.

You can still get small business rate relief on your main property after this if both the following apply:

  • none of your other properties have a rateable value above £2,900
  • the total rateable value of all your properties is less than £28,000

You do not need to apply for small business rate relief, we will automatically apply it to your business if you meet the criteria.

Provided you continue to satisfy the conditions for the relief which apply at the time about the property and the ratepayer, you will continue to receive relief in each new valuation period.

If you're not receving the relief and you think you should, please contact us on 020 8315 2255 or email businessrates@lambeth.gov.uk.

If you’re receiving the relief, you must notify us if certain changes in circumstances occur.

These changes are:

  • taking up occupation of an additional property
  • an increase in the rateable value of a property you occupy in an area outside of Lambeth.

You’re a small business but don’t qualify for small business rate relief

You’ll pay the small business multiplier if your property has a rateable value below £51,000. The small business multiplier will be 46.6p and the standard multiplier will be 47.9p.