Colliers Advise Restaurant /Leisure Businesses To Consider Claiming Extra Rates Reliefs and Office Occupiers Could Also be able to declare their Work and Office Locations “Empty ” and claim Appropriate Reliefs

24th March 2020, 9:42 am

Following the Chancellor’s announcement on Friday that all restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas and gyms must close for business, such firms are eligible to claim empty rates relief from the day they close until 31st March, according to the Business Rates team at real estate advisors Colliers International.

The prohibition by law, which started from Saturday March 21st  2020, means that such properties cannot be occupied.

As the recently announced 12-month period of rates relief for the sector does not apply until 1st April, all ratepayers in these categories will therefore be eligible for empty rates relief from March 21st until 31st March 2020.  Since March rate bills will have already been paid, Colliers advises such businesses should consider applying for refunds for these extra days until the end of the month. And as occupation of the categories is now prohibited by law, Colliers believe that State Aid will no longer be an issue.

Turning to other sectors, Colliers also believes that given the advice regarding groups not assembling and people working from home, the implication is that businesses could declare that their offices and work locations are “empty”.  They can then request the appropriate relief on these from March 21st also.


The one caveat in this is to make sure such actions don’t prejudice any grants the government is offering. Colliers will confirm once we get clarity on the confirmation date for such grants.

Commenting, John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers International, said: “Despite 100% business rates relief given to the retail and leisure sectors from April 2020, these businesses are going to be hard pressed to keep their heads above water in the weeks ahead. We sympathise with our clients and advise them to claim every day of rates relief that they can.”

“We also acknowledge there is clarity for some other sectors who can may also be able to claim for relief on virtue of being empty. We have advised  our clients in this situation to do so and not to pay their rate bills as of April 1st.”

” We applaud the Government for the support it is trying to give to business in this difficult time, but it is clear that still much more needs to be done, particularly to help the wider business market, and we would urge the grant of a six months rates holiday for all businesses, whatever the sector.”

He added: “We have also been advised that guidance on the package of grants that was to have been made available on Friday, will now be pushed back to early this week. This certainly won’t be the end of the measures the government is going to have to make in the difficult days ahead.”

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