If you pay business rates, you may be eligible for rate relief or a discount. There are several options available:

2023 Supporting Small Business Relief Scheme (SSB)

This relief is available to ratepayers who have lost some or all of their small business rate relief or rural rate relief as a result of an increase in rateable value in the 2023 revaluation.

This scheme, which runs from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2026 limits any increase in business rates to £600 per year.

The relief is calculated automatically so you do not need to apply for it.

A change of ratepayers will not affect eligibility for the Supporting Small Business relief scheme, but eligibility will be lost if the property falls vacant or becomes occupied by a charity or community amateur sports club.

Small Business Relief

The Small Business Rate Relief scheme provides a maximum of 100%  mandatory rate relief for properties with a rateable value up to £12,000, with relief declining on a sliding scale until, at a rateable value of £15,000, there is no entitlement.

  • If you are occupying only one property with a rateable value of below £12,000 you would pay no rates at all;
  • If you are occupying only one property with a rateable value of between £12,000 and £15,000 you would benefit from a discount on your bill;
  • Eligible ratepayers with rateable values above £15,000 and below £51,000  will have their bills calculated using the small business multiplier.


Small Business Rate Relief can be awarded if:

  • The rate payer occupies only one property, or
  • The rate payer occupies one main property and other properties, where the rateable value of each additional property is less than £2,900 and the total rateable value of all the properties is less than £19,999.  Rate relief can only be awarded for the main      property.


If you are not claiming and think you may be eligible, contact us on 020 8207 7409 or download a small business rates relief application form (PDF, 120KB) 

Transitional Relief

To try and minimise the financial impact that a general revaluation may have on businesses, the government introduced Transitional Arrangements.

Transitional Arrangements aim to ‘phase in’ any adjustments to the amount payable by a business. The principle behind this scheme is to ensure that businesses will not be expected to pay, or receive a reduction in their bills, by more than a pre-set percentage each year (determined by Central Government). Transitional arrangements are automatically applied and are shown on the front of your bill.

Empty Properties

You don't have to pay business rates on empty properties for three months.

The following properties can get extended empty property relief: 

  • industrial premises (for example, warehouses) are exempt for a further three months 
  • listed buildings - until they’re reoccupied 
  • buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 - until they’re reoccupied 
  • properties owned by charities - only if the property’s next use will be for charitable purposes
  • community amateur sports clubs buildings - only if the next use will be for sporting use


Please tell us when your property becomes vacant by calling 020 8207 2277 or emailing revenues@hertsmere.gov.uk

Section 44a Relief - Partly occupied property

Ratepayers are liable for full non-domestic rates whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. However, in certain instances, the Council has the discretion if part of a property becomes temporarily vacant, to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.  This is called Section 44a relief.

When considering an application for discretionary rate relief the following factors will be taken into account:

  • The circumstances leading to the partial occupation
  • What is the intention of the business in relation to the unoccupied parts
  • Evidence that the unoccupied part will be empty for a short term only

Charity Relief

Charitable organisations that occupy a non-domestic property for activities in connection with the purposes of that charity are entitled to business rates relief of 80% of the bill.

We have the discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20 per cent of the organisation's bill.

To apply for charity relief download an application form (PDF, 69KB) and guide (PDF, 78KB). 

Sports Club Relief

Non-profit making sporting organisations can benefit from 80 per cent mandatory relief.

This relief is intended to help clubs that:

  • are open to the whole community
  • are organised on an amateur basis
  • have as their main purpose providing facilities for, and promoting participation in, one or more eligible sports


Non – profit making sporting organisations include:


To apply for charity relief download an application form (PDF, 69KB) and  guide (PDF, 78KB). 

Rate Relief for Businesses in Rural Areas

From 1 April 2017 you can get 100% rural rate relief if you occupy a property in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000 and  the business meets the following criteria:

  • Is the only general store, food shop or post office with a rateable value of up to £8,500.
  • Is the only public house or petrol station with a rateable value of up to £12,500.

Retail Discount

For 2021/22 Retail discount is 100 per cent for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021, Retail discount will apply at 66 per cent subject to a cash cap.

Which properties will benefit from Retail Discount?

The properties must be wholly or mainly used :

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
  • for assembly and leisure; or
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation


Read more information about which properties will benefit from Retail Discount.


How much relief will be available?

Subject to the cash caps, the total amount of government-funded relief available for each property for 2021/22 under this scheme is:


    • For chargeable days from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021 100 per cent of the chargeable amount, and
    • for chargeable days from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, 66 per cent of the chargeable amount.


Cash Caps



No cash caps will apply for the period between 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

Under the cash caps, a ratepayer may only receive up to the following cash caps of Expanded Retail Discount in 2021/22 ignoring any relief for the period before 1 July 2021:

  • £2 million for ratepayers in businesses mandated to close during the period of lockdown.
  • £105,000 for all other ratepayers


No ratepayer can in any circumstances exceed the £2 million cash cap across all of their hereditaments in England. Where a ratepayer eligible for the closed cash cap also occupies hereditaments which do not meet the criteria for the closed cash cap and the value of the discount on the closed hereditaments is less than £2 million then they may also claim the discount on other eligible hereditaments but only up to the cap of £105,000 in respect of those other eligible hereditaments. For example, such a ratepayer whose rate bill from 1 July 2021 onwards on hereditaments eligible for the closed cash cap is £1 million and also occupies other eligible hereditaments with a rates bill of £3 million is able to claim up to £1,105,000 in discount from 1 July 2021 onwards (£1million on their closed hereditament and then up to the £105,000 cash cap on their other eligible hereditaments).

Where a ratepayer has a qualifying connection with another ratepayer then those ratepayers should be considered as one ratepayer for the purposes of the cash caps. A ratepayer shall be treated as having a qualifying connection with another:

  1. where both ratepayers are companies, and
    1. one is a subsidiary of the other, or
    2. ii. both are subsidiaries of the same company; or
  2. where only one ratepayer is a company, the other ratepayer (the “second ratepayer”) has such an interest in that company as would, if the second ratepayer were a company, result in its being the holding company of the other.

Read more information about which cash cap may apply to you.

Hardship Relief

This discretionary relief can be granted if you are experiencing hardship and your business is considered to be important to the local community. Contact us on 020 8207 7409 for an application form.

Public Lavatory Relief

The Public Lavatories Act 2021 provides 100% business rates relief for separately assessed public toilets. This relief applies retrospectively from 1 April 2020.

The relief will be applied automatically to the business rates account, there is no need to apply

State Aid

State aid rules regulate public sector intervention, with the aim of ensuring fair competition and the proper functioning of the single market.

Giving unregulated financial support to some businesses would risk distorting competition within the European common market, and hinder the long-term competitiveness of the European Union.

This means that a business can only receive government support up to a maximum level. Because of this, we have to ask any business that applies for relief detailed questions about any financial support that they may already have received.

You can find out the State Aid 'de minimis' levels and what the rules for businesses are by downloading our guide below. 

 Read state aid guidance.


Get more information and government guidance on business rates relief