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Non-domestic rates - money off your bill

Empty property relief

From 1 April 2023, all councils were allowed to decide when to award relief on empty properties within their own area. We decided that for 2023/24 the level of relief would not change.

South Lanarkshire Council approved a new empty property relief policy in January 2024 and this came into effect on 1 April 2024. See our new and current Non-domestic rates empty property relief policy documents

Changes to empty property relief from 1 April 2024

100% relief will continue to be awarded, with no time limit, where:

  • the ratepayer has been declared insolvent, and a trustee, liquidator or administrator has taken over control of the property
  • the property is in the possession of an executor of a deceased person's estate
  • the property has been served notice that prohibits use of the property
  • the property has been served with a compulsory purchase order

All other properties

All other properties can receive 50% relief for a maximum of three months from the date the property became empty. If the property remains empty for longer than three months, 10% relief can be awarded for up to nine months, after which, no relief will be awarded.

The following categories of properties will no longer be eligible for 100% relief indefinitely:

  • listed buildings, ancient monuments, and buildings with a preservation notice
  • land that does not comprise of any building(s)
  • the rateable value is £1700 or less

Further information:

  • you cannot appeal any changes resulting from the new Non-domestic rates empty property relief policy
  • relief is awarded to the property, not the business, which means any relief awarded will start from the date the property was declared empty, regardless of any change of owner or tenant
  • the property will need to be occupied for at least six months before the council will consider awarding any relief
  • relief will only be awarded for the current financial year, unless the property qualifies for 100% relief as outlined above 

The following relief applies up to 31 March 2024:

Business properties (non-industrial)

These properties can receive 50% relief for up to three months from the date the property became empty. Thereafter, for as long as the property remains empty, you will be billed for 90% of the property charge

Industrial properties

These properties can receive 100% relief for up to six months from the date the property became empty. Thereafter, for as long as the property remains empty, you will be billed for 90% of the property charge.

Exempt properties

100% relief is available for an unlimited period where:

  • the rateable value is less than £1700
  • the property is a listed building
  • the ratepayer is insolvent and the property is in the control of a trustee, liquidator or administrator
  • the property is in possession of an executor of a deceased person's estate
  • notice has been served prohibiting the use of the property
  • a compulsory purchase order has been served on the property
  • the property is an ancient monument or is subject to a preservation order 
  • there are no buildings on site

Apply for empty property relief

To make a new application for empty property relief, please complete the online form below. You may be asked to provide evidence with your application, help with uploading this is available below.

Please make sure you have read the evidence required for empty property relief and have all your evidence to hand and ready to upload before you begin your application.

Evidence

Unless you are the property agent, or the property is empty for less than 30 days, you will need to give us evidence to show that the property is empty (full details of what type of evidence we need from you is listed further down this page).

  • Zero or minimal fuel bills - the actual fuel consumption must be shown and must not be estimated. Where the consumption is not zero, earlier or later bills must be supplied for comparison. The fuel bills must cover over 50% of the empty period
  • Dated receipts or invoices for work carried out in the refurbishment of the property. These must show the date of the work and the subject address
  • Dated receipts for materials purchased for the refurbishment of the property. These must show that the materials were delivered to the subject address
  • Copy of a ‘To Let’ advert showing the date of the publication and the subject address of the property
  • Copy of the invoice for the ‘To Let’ advert showing the date of the publication and the address of the property advertised
  • Signed statement or dated marketing brochure from the letting agent. If the agent completes the application form no documentary evidence is necessary
  • Signed and dated statement from two neighbours. The statement must include details of the empty period, the address in question and the names, addresses and contact telephone number of both neighbours. It is acceptable that one of these statements can be submitted by the ratepayer’s solicitor, provided that their premises are in the vicinity of the unoccupied premises. We must be able to trace and contact the people providing the statements
  • Photographs – these must show both the inside and outside of the property, and must demonstrate the date taken. Most digital cameras will automatically stamp the date on the photograph; otherwise a daily newspaper must be visible in the photograph with its date also visible
  • Any other evidence which independently verifies that the property is/was unoccupied during the period of the claim, subject to acceptance by us

Help with uploading evidence

You will be asked to upload evidence on the application form. We can accept jpegs and pdf files but we advise pdfs as the file size is smaller.

Please don’t take photos of your PC screen or phone screen as these can be blurry. If you need to do this you should use the screenshot/print screen function on your PC or phone.

When you take a photo of a document such as a bank statement sometimes the file sizes are too big, especially if you have to upload a lot of different images to your form. This can cause the form to fail and we advise converting jpegs to pdfs. You can do this in the following ways.

On an Android phone

  • select image you want
  • from the menu select print image
  • select Save as pdf
  • choose where to save it
  • save

On an iPhone

  • select the image you want
  • tap the sharing button and select Print
  • at the Printer options screen, use a spreading gesture with your fingers on the image preview to show Save as pdf
  • select Share the converted photo as PDF and choose where to save it  

On a PC

  • right click on the icon of the image
  • select Convert to Adobe pdf
  • click on the Save file icon in the top left hand corner
  • select where to save it
  • name it
  • save

How to submit evidence

Do not use the form below if you are making a new application for Empty property relief. The submission of evidence form should only be used if you want to provide evidence for an application you have already made.

We aim to process your application within 10 working days. However, due to the current volume of customer contact and correspondence, there may be a delay to this timescale.