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COVID-19: Updates on business rates exemption and house moves

25th March 2020

As the Coronavirus outbreak continues, government have today made two key announcements; Business rates exemptions for estate and lettings agencies; and important advice on house moves.

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 2020-21.

  • 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. Government are working with local authorities to ensure new bills are issued as soon as possible.
  • The Devolved Administrations will receive funding under the Barnett formula to support businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • If any business has a query regarding their bill, they should get in touch with their local authority
  • Guidance for local authorities on the application of the holiday will be published by MHCLG shortly
  • For further information on the support available to businesses during Covid-19 visit:

Read the announcement in full

Responding to the news, Isobel Thomson, Chief Executive, 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 Government hard over the last few weeks on the issue of business rates, and we appreciate they have listened.”

House moves

The Government has today also made the following statement with regard to moving between properties generally:

“Home buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus.

“If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.

“Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice and not move house for the time being.”

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