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Relief for part-occupied properties

Birmingham City Council will only consider applications for this relief, also known as Section 44A relief, where the areas subject to the application will be unoccupied for a temporary period, meaning no more than 6 months, in any 12 month period.

Applications will be considered where the premises are partly unoccupied due to:

  • Full occupation being phased in over a period of time
  • Full vacation occurring in stages over a period of time
  • Temporary occupation, for example due to remedial building or refurbishment works, fire damage or similar.

There is no minimum award period.

There will be no retrospective granting of relief where a request is made after the premises become fully operational or fully vacated.

The effective start date of Section 44A relief will normally be the date of the initial request or where this is unclear the date of the visit by the inspector.

Payment cannot be withheld pending the receipt of the Section 44A Certificate from the Valuation Officer.

An inspector may visit the premises occasionally without notice to check that the certified unoccupied area is not in use.

The period of relief will end with the first day on which one or more of the following events occur:

  • A change in the extent of partial occupation
  • The ending of the rate period to which the apportionment relates
  • The beginning of a new period of relief under a new certificate
  • The hereditament becoming completely unoccupied/occupied.

Section 44A is only a temporary relief and should not be used in cases where the partial occupation will be for a prolonged period. In these cases, the ratepayer should seek to get the property split in the rating list by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

The ratepayer is responsible for notifying the Business Rates Office immediately if the unoccupied area comes into use.

Applying for relief

All applications must complete the Business Rates enquiry form below.

A floor plan must be provided showing the areas of occupation and non-occupation.

Where we receive follow-on applications for different parts of the same premises, we will require a supporting business case. You will need to explain clearly why such changes are required and the reason for another part of the premises being temporarily unoccupied.

Your application will be assessed carefully against the criteria set out in our policy on this relief.

If we grant relief we will notify the VOA who will issue us with a certificate apportioning (splitting) the rateable value (RV) between the occupied and unoccupied parts. We will then write to you to confirm the award and issue you with a new bill based on the RV of the occupied part only.

If we do not grant relief we will write to you to explain why. Because this relief is discretionary there is no formal right of appeal. If you think our decision is wrong you should first check again that you meet the criteria. If you still think our decision is wrong you should email or write to the Business Rates team within one month of the decision letter explaining why you believe you meet the criteria and providing additional evidence where appropriate.

An independent officer will review your application and write to you with the outcome, normally within 28 days.

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