When are completion notices issued?
Completion notices are issued on new buildings or buildings created by the alteration of an existing building. The completion notice will show the building it relates to and the day that we consider to be the completion date. They will be sent by post to the registered or home address of the property owner. Legislations state that where it’s considered that a commercial premises is structurally complete, or that the works remaining can be reasonably expected to be completed within three months, a completion notice can be served on the owner of the commercial premises.
We issue completion notices where there is evidence that commercial premises are complete. We may do this because of information passed to us by third parties or as a result of an inspection. A completion notice will be issued for commercial premises to the owner. The owner is defined as 'the person entitled to possession'. The completion notice is a document that specifies the completion date: the date on which a commercial premise becomes rateable and enters the rating list for business rates purposes.
If the premises are unoccupied and empty from this completion date, the premises will be eligible for a three-month exemption, while it remains so. If it's an industrial premise, then a six-month exemption will apply.
The Non-Domestic Rating Bill 2023 now allows the council to serve completion notices on refurbished properties that have been removed from the rating list whilst the refurbishment takes place.
Criteria for completion notices
Our Revenues Inspectors routinely visit premises to establish how close to completion the premises are. Information will also be sought from the developers of the premises and the owners.
The criteria for determining completion for business rates purposes are substantially different from those for determining completion for building control therefore whether building control certificates have been issued or not is not directly relevant.
It is important to remember that a completion notice may be served up to 3 months in advance of the day on which we specify that a property is complete.
This means that sometimes, on the date that the notice is sent, the property may still not be complete. The important date to focus on is the date that we are specifying as the date of completion in the completion notice.
Appeal a completion notice
The owner has 4 weeks from when the completion notice is served to appeal to the Valuation tribunal. If no appeal is brought by the owner, the date given by the local authority will be deemed the completion date.
The 3 or 6-month empty period exemption starts from the completion date. We may withdraw the completion by issuing a subsequent completion notice. If however, an appeal is pending from the owner, then written consent is required from the owner of the building to amend the date.