EYE Information Update: Agents forced to close to pay no business rates

Estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls that have closed as a result of Covid-19 measures to restrict the spread of the virus will be now be exempted from business rates in the next financial year, 2020-21, the Government has just announced.

This measure comes after the Chancellor announced in the Budget that, in response to Covid-19, the business rates retail discount would be increased to 100% next year and would be expanded to the hospitality and leisure sectors.

Today the Government has announced that some of the exclusions for this relief have been removed, so that retail, leisure, and hospitality properties that have closed as a result of the Covid-19 restriction measures will now be eligible for the relief.

This will ensure that estate agents and lettings agencies that are required to close will not pay any business rates in the next financial year, starting next month.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We are determined to do whatever it takes to support businesses during Covid-19, which is why we have extended business rates relief for the high street.

“Today, I am removing some the exclusions for this relief, so that retail, leisure, and hospitality properties that have closed as a result of the measures announced by the Prime Minister in his statement on Monday will now be eligible for the relief.

“This will ensure that estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls that are required to close will not pay any business rates next year.”

Eligible businesses will be rebilled by their local authority and the new bill will give them the discount of 100%.

If businesses have made payments in the meantime, they will be refunded by their local authority. The Government said it is working with local authorities to ensure new bills are issued as soon as possible.

Guidance for local authorities on the application of the holiday will be published by MHCLG shortly.

Mark Hayward, CEO of Propertymark NAEA which has been campaigning for business rates relief to be extended to agents, said: “We are pleased to see that the Government has listened and acknowledged the concerns from many estate and letting agencies across the country.

“This is a real boost in uncertain times and will assist all businesses that are finding it difficult to operate in the current environment.”

Isobel Thomson, chief executive of safeagent, said: “We’re grateful to the Government for recognising the urgent need to extend the business rate exemption to estate and letting agents. There are tough times ahead for the industry and it was crucial that this support was extended.

“Safeagent, along with other industry organisations has pressed the Government hard over the last few weeks on the issue of business rates, and we appreciate they have listened to us.”


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  1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    A useful update.

    Can you/anyone clarify what ”Agent forced to close…” means, in real terms. Does this mean ALL agents (as we’ve been ”advised” to close doors)?

    It seems to be read to me as if, only a number are eligible for rates relief…or is it a blanket relief?

    1. Phillau34

      I’ve cancelled the direct debits. Better in our bank account and they can argue that I owe it, rather than the other way around. I think it means we are covered though as yesterdays advice was that estate agents should close.

    2. Bless You

      Thank you property eye for finding this. I’am on the govt site a lot at moment and could’nt find this anywhere.

      Do i take it if we dont pay rent for 3 months they cant evict us,,but we still owe the rent?

      I might close anyway as lease ends in a few weeks and come back next year…

    3. Bless You

      i agree eye reader..the vocablory the govt uses on all their info is appalling. 
      Words like :
      You May
      You Could 
      Next Year
      Clear Advice to stay at home unless you can work…. wtf 

  2. J1

    So Paul Smith mid-judged the level of support coming down the line a little didn’t he…..

    Some Guru

    1. David2

      This is good news. I’m sure many companies were working on significant staff reductions and that will remain the case-perhaps though it will not be as drastic.

    2. Eyereaderturnedposter12



      As some have suggested, it may be the case that PS was simply using the crisis as a ‘smokescreen’ to carry out actions already planned…? A perceived face-saving exercise, that monumentally backfired (in the PR sense)..?

      1. J1

        Eyereaderturnedposter12  There are other firms that are doing that too……….

  3. claris

    Finally sense has prevailed although I do think that this government is trying to get it right, albeit slowly. Let’s see what tomorrow brings with regard to the the self employed.

  4. htsnom79

    Cash is king for the foreseeable, I’m tempted to ice our account across the board and utilise our reserves solely for the human beings to get through unscathed, I can deal with contracts et al later, RM had the privilege of an early bath a week ago.

    1. J1

      Rightmove needs pressure washing down the drain – not a bath…….

  5. MH -RM

    day by day people … stay classy

  6. GPL

    **** Me! Some Good News!


    Estate & Letting Agents are finally seen to have hearts too….




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