Empty rates

Author: Alison Mould

In previous articles we have addressed the thorny issue of empty rates and schemes that have been devised and considered by tribunals and courts to assist landlords in avoiding liability for rates on vacant properties.

The Government has now stepped in and introduced the Empty Rates Temporary Relief Scheme which took effect on 1 October this year. This Scheme supplements the old three month rate free period for vacant commercial properties to a further 15 month rate free period where these commercial properties are newly built.

In relation to newly built commercial properties which are completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 and are not occupied, the Government has exempted from any rates liability such properties for the first 18 months after construction up to the state aids limit. The state aids limit is currently €200,000.

The idea behind the relief scheme is to assist the construction industry whose obvious concern is the completion of new commercial property with the inherent rates liability. The Government hopes that reducing rates liability may incentivise some commercial property developers to go ahead with schemes, thereby encouraging speculative development. Only time will tell.

Alison Mould, Partner, Fladgate LLP (amould@fladgate.com)

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