Brownlie v Four Seasons Group
The Empty Rates temporary relief scheme announced by the Government earlier in the year took effect from 1 October 2013.
The current 3 month rate-free period for vacant commercial properties has been supplemented by up to a further 15 month rate-free period for vacant newly built commercial sites.
The Government will exempt all newly built commercial property completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 that are not occupied, during the first 18 months after construction from empty property rates, up to the state aids limits. This is currently set around €200,000.
The purpose of the measure is to help stimulate the construction industry. Construction decisions take into account the risk of paying empty property rates on newly built commercial real estate if it does not become fully occupied straight away. The Government believes that reducing this risk may incentivise some commercial property projects to go ahead that wouldn’t otherwise, helping to encourage speculative development. However, many people in the property industry have attacked the relief saying it is “hugely complex” and “appears designed not to be used at all”.
For more details on how the scheme operates, please click here for the guidance notes published by the Government.
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