If your domestic property was vacant before 1 October 2011, you may be entitled to claim a vacancy for that period. You cannot claim a vacancy after that date but you may be eligible for exclusion from rates if you and your property meet certain criteria.
Backdated vacancy applications
A backdated vacancy can only be considered for a period before 1 October 2011. A property is classified as vacant for rating purposes if it is unoccupied, unfurnished and not used for storage. A property is devoid of furniture when all furniture not permanently attached to a wall, floor or roof is removed.
What do you need to provide to claim a vacancy?
If your domestic property was vacant before 1 October 2011 you will need to complete a Vacancy application form. Land & Property Services (LPS) cannot award a vacancy without a completed application. Also, you must attach third party evidence that the property was vacant for the whole period of your application.
This application cannot be considered to include any vacant period after 1 October 2011.
What sort of evidence do you need?
You will require one of the following:
- a utility bill showing less electricity used throughout the vacancy - to allow LPS to consider your property’s electrical needs, you should also supply a bill from when it was occupied where possible
- where you pay for your electricity by keypad ‘top–up’, a Customer Sales Report from your provider, showing less electricity used throughout the vacancy
- if you could not use your property because of building work, a letter from your contractor outlining the nature of renovations to your property and when they started and completed
Applying for a vacancy
To apply for a vacancy, you must submit an application form. This form will tell you the terms of a vacancy and what was required throughout the vacant period. You can download the form using the link below. The form is writeable, which means that you can either print the necessary details and then print it off, or download the form first and complete it. The completed forms should then be returned to the address shown at the bottom of the form:
Please print out this form, reading the Guidance Notes carefully, and send it to the address provided. Alternatively, you can contact LPS and request an application form. Contact details for LPS are as follows:
- phone: 0300 200 7801 (charged at local rate)
- textphone: 1800 1101
You can also write to or visit your local rating office - you will still need to complete an application form and enclose the appropriate evidence. You can use the following link to find LPS offices:
You must continue to pay your rate bill while your application is being assessed. If your application is successful LPS will refund the amount you have overpaid or credit the amount due to your account.
Rating of empty homes
From 1st October 2011 the same level of rates will be due on all domestic properties whether occupied or empty. You can find more information on the Rating of Empty Homes, including possible exclusions in the following links:
More useful links
- Rates forms
- Buying your home
- Selling your home
- Rental properties
- Rating district offices (contacts section)
- Your local council services (leisure, home and community section)
- Support and safety in your home (leisure, home and community section)
- The cost of contacting 08 and 03 telephone numbers (contacts section)
- Dont wait. Insulate - Northern Ireland Water website