Landlords could end up paying charities to move into their buildings to avoid paying rates on empty property. Sunday Telegraph

The government’s £1bn tax raid on commercial property through the withdrawal of commercial property rate relief for empty buildings has led landlords to consult on ways of mitigating the new charge.

Schemes could include installing charities as occupiers, failing to finish construction on new developments and the ‘bubblewrap option’ — moving lightweight goods such as plastic bubblewrap into buildings to take advantage of short-term exemptions from business rates when the goods are moved out.

Jerry Schurder, head of rating at Gerald Eve, said: ‘Getting a charity to occupy your warehouse will mean the business rates will be cut by 80%. This could lead to property companies setting up their own charitable foundations or even paying charities to occupy their properties.’