Local government minister Brandon Lewis said that the new empty property rate relief would offer renewed confidence to the construction sector.
New non-domestic properties such as offices, warehouses and shops are subject to rates after three months, even if empty and tenants are still being sought. The new relief scheme will apply to properties completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 that are not occupied, during the first 18 months after construction.
The Treasury reckons that this new incentive is worth £150m to the property sector and could benefit more than 11,000 new commercial properties including warehouses, offices and factories.
The discount was announced by the chancellor in his 2012 autumn statement to encourage development by reducing the business rates liability of owners of unoccupied new buildings.
Guidance published yesterday sets out the detailed criteria and eligibility for this additional relief for empty new builds.
Mr Lewis said: “This move will boost confidence in the commercial property sector and allow them to develop new projects again without worrying about the risk of rate bills on empty buildings whilst they find a buyer.”
Exchequer secretary to the Treasury David Gauke added: “This government is committed to supporting business and encouraging growth. We want to provide targeted support, where it is most needed, and it is hoped the empty property rates relief will incentivise the construction industry by reducing risk.”