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

The following information gives details of the Council’s policy on Business Rates Discretionary Relief which may be helpful to you in completing the application form.

Charitable Relief

Mandatory Relief - Hertsmere Borough Council will grant 80% Mandatory Relief on a property which is occupied by a registered, excepted, or exempt charity, and which is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

Discretionary Top-Up Relief

The council will also consider applications for 10% Discretionary top-up relief if the charity ‘provides a direct charitable benefit to the local community’.  Charities that benefit the residents such as Scouts, Guides, and Community Centres would qualify for the extra relief but charities occupying offices, commercial outlets and shops would not.  

Discretionary Relief for non-profit making organisations

Discretionary Relief of up to 50% is available to non-profit organisations.  To qualify, your organisation must either:

a)    provide a direct charitable benefit to the local community, or

b)    be a sports or social club

Property eligible under (a) must be wholly or mainly occupied for the purposes of a non-profit making institution or other organisation whose main objects are philanthropic or religious or concerned with social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts.

Property eligible under (b) must be wholly or mainly occupied for the purposes of a non-profit making club, society or other organisation and is used for the purposes of recreation.

The percentage of relief you may be entitled to, up to 50%, is determined by the bar / gaming machines and catering profit.

Claimants may be asked to provide further details of their membership, such as membership numbers / fees charged, especially relating to the residents of the borough.

To apply for any of the above, please complete the application form linked below.

To apply for charity relief download an application form (PDF, 69KB)

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, Hospitality, Leisure Discount

From April 2023 businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors may qualify for 75% 'Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Discount' on their Business Rates. This is intended to help small businesses in sectors which may have been impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic and/or a decline in 'in-person' shopping and similar. However, there are cash caps on the total amount of retail relief businesses can receive. This is likely to be applicable to chain stores or businesses which have a number of different business premises. Please see (Business Rates Relief: 2024/25 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme, local authority guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) for more information

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