The Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Property) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2016 come in to force on 1 April 2016. These regulations will change the existing rules on empty property rates in Scotland and will be important for any occupier of commercial property in Scotland.

The table below lays out the position for the various types of commercial properties and the rates relief applicable before and after 1 April 2016.

Click here to view table.

The 2016 Regulations also extend the Scottish Government’s “Fresh Start” and “New Start” schemes.

Fresh Start Scheme

New occupiers of shops or offices which have been empty for at least 12 months will be able to apply for a 50% discount on rates for 12 months.  This relief was introduced in 2013 as a way of assisting owners to let out empty properties. The 2016 Regulations have extended this relief for a further year to 31 March 2017.

New Start Scheme

Relief of up to 100% is provided to owners of empty new-build properties for up to 18 months. This relief was originally introduced in 2013 as a way of encouraging development. The 2016 Regulations extend this relief for a further 3 years until 31 March 2019, as long as the new entry is added in the Valuation Roll not later than 31 March 2017.

Future review of Business Rates

Former RBS chair, Ken Barclay, has been appointed by First Minster, Nicola Sturgeon, to head the Scottish Government’s review of business rates. The Commission will recommend changes to business rates, which are expected to be released in the summer of 2017.

Revaluation

Lastly, a revaluation of all non-domestic rates, in both Scotland and England, is scheduled for 2017. This will be based on rent payable in respect of the property at 1 April 2015, and will set the property’s rateable value for the next 5 years.

To check the rateable value of a property or to check that it has been added to the valuation roll, visit www.saa.gov.uk