Guest Blog – How to avoid being hit by empty property rates

One of the most burdensome issues for businesses today is the level of business rates charged on all commercial premises. There was once a time when such business rates were limited to occupied premises, but this is no longer the case.

With Election Day underway, business owners across the UK will be praying that their chosen party will be able to form a government in the coming weeks and address the issues of empty property rates.

The Government’s introduction of an empty property rates tax means that, as many property developers will know, if a commercial property is vacant for three months or more then the landlord could be liable to pay the business rates for the vacant period.

Liability to pay the empty property tax falls upon the person entitled to possessions of the whole herditament, the owner. The logic behind the tax was that it would force landlords to lower rents, but this purpose has not been achieved because even at drastically reduced rents, many businesses cannot even afford to pay business rates for occupied premises.

With the commercial property market enjoying continuous growth and high demand, the question remains whether a newly formed government will be able to sustain the recently seen economic growth.

Last month, the Telegraph printed a letter signed by a five thousand strong army of company bosses, managers and associates that stated their support for David Cameron and his pledges for small business in the UK. According to the House of Commons, small business make up 99.3% of all businesses in the UK.

These small businesses play a major role in the state of our economy and are key players in the commercial sector. While the sector is growing, things are far from complete and we are still paying the cost for the difficult years.

Whether its Cameron or Milliband who walk through number ten, the question still remains about what a future government would do about the empty property tax.

However, if your commercial property is currently vacant and your profits are being eroded by empty property tax, companies such as Lincoln & Co specialise in minimising the liability for empty property.

By using a proven and legal mechanism, Lincoln & Co introduces a tenant who is entitled to relief from business rates. The tenant does not occupy the premises constantly and they do not require keys. The property remains on the market for sale or to let, which causes no inconvenience to you or your agent.

Viewings will be conducted as usual by the property owner who will retain keys and access. The tenancies are flexible and can be terminated at short notice.

With empty property rates acting as a form of corporation tax and eating away the profits of small businesses, many companies will be hoping that this is an issue addressed by whoever is in government following the General Election.

If your commercial property is currently vacant and you want to find out more about our services then visit for further information, or contact us at