Land and Property Services recently announced a change in how rates are charged in relation to unoccupied residential properties. Up until now property owners have been afforded the privilege of claiming vacancy on unoccupied residential property, which in turn avoids owners having to pay rates. This is set to change as of October 1st this year.
Quicklet state that the changes will have a significant impact on landlords who currently have an Article 20 account and receive a 7.5% discount on their rates bill whilst also availing of full rates relief on vacant property. From 1st October 2011, these landlords will have to pay 100% of the rates due when the property is empty and no allowance will be awarded for that vacant period. Rating of Empty Homes will have little impact on landlords who have an Article 21 rates account and receive a 15%* allowance, as they have accepted responsibility to pay rates on their properties whether they are occupied or empty.
Gavin McEvoy, Quicklet, says:
‘From 1 October 2011 all empty domestic properties will be charged rates regardless of whether or not they are in the rental sector. This will inevitably bring more stock to the market as property owners will not want to pay rates on vacant property. However Quicklet say that such is the rental demand for residential property that the market will easily absorb any increase in supply without any negative impact on rental prices.’
Quicklet are calling upon landlords to move to an Article 21 rates account that offers the discounted allowance of 15% on their annual rates bill. Quicklet, based in both Belfast and Lurgan, can advise on this process as it can be difficult and is subject to deadline.
Land and Property Services have since announced that from 1st April 2012 it is planned to reduce the 15% allowance to 12.5%. This is subject to Assembly approval. For property owners who have vacant property in the Greater Belfast or Mid Ulster areas Quicklet would be delighted to offer expert advice. Please go to www.quickletni.co.uk for more information.