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New properties and completion notices

A completion notice is a document that specifies the 'completion date' for newly built properties. It is the date on which the property becomes a dwelling for business rates purposes, and is the date it is entered into the valuation list.

The completion notice is issued in accordance with Schedule 4A of the Local Government Finance Act.

Where a property is structurally complete, or where the work remaining can reasonably be expected to be completed within 3 months, a completion notice will be served on the 'owner' of the property. The 'owner' is defined as 'the person entitled to possession'.

Where work on a property is not yet completed, the completion notice can be served specifying a final completion day up to three months from the date of service; this should reflect the additional time reasonably required to complete the work on the property.

We consider that a building will have reached a stage of substantial completion when it meets the following criteria:

Shell and core

  • All external walls are complete.
  • Roof tiles are laid.
  • Ceilings are in place.
  • Floors have been laid.
  • Staircase(s) have been fitted.
  • External doors fitted.
  • Windows fitted.
  • Permanent availability of gas/electric/water is laid up to the property (but not necessarily connected)

First fix

The position from foundation up to plastering:

  • Cutting and laying of joists.
  • Erecting studwork and partitioning.
  • Fixing door linings.
  • Fixing window boards.
  • Assembling and erecting staircase(s).
  • Plasterboards.
  • Fixing cable network around shell.

Second fix

  • External doors.
  • Fixing of skirting, architraves, and decorative mouldings.
  • Finishing off staircases and balustrade.
  • Installation of power points.
  • Boxing in - waste runs and sanitary ware.
  • Radiators and boilers.
  • Guttering and down pipes.

To be considered ready for a rateable value, the following work doesn't need to have been carried out:

  • Internal decoration of the property, including the fitting of internal door.
  • Final fitting of bathrooms and kitchen units.
  • Final fitting of electrical fixtures, plug points and switches.
  • Final connection of water, gas and electricity (although services should be laid on to the site).
  • The criteria for determining completion for business rates purposes are substantially different to that for determining completion for Building Control; therefore, whether building control certificates have been issued or not is not directly relevant.

What if a property is complete but not occupied?

If the property is complete, the council will serve a completion notice on the owner as soon as is reasonably practicable. A completion notice cannot be backdated, even if the property has been completed for some time. If a property is empty and unused there will not be any business rates to pay for the first three months (or six months for industrial premises). If there is a change of owner during or after the exemption period the exemption period does not re-commence.

What if the property becomes occupied?

A new or altered dwelling does not require a completion notice once someone takes up occupation. The date used to enter onto the Valuation List will be the date of occupation.

What if I disagree with the completion notice?

A person on whom a completion notice is served may appeal against the notice on the grounds that the building to which the notice relates has not been completed or cannot reasonably be expected to be completed by the completion day.

An appeal may be made in writing to the valuation tribunal service, 2nd Floor, 120 Leman Street, LONDON. E1 8EU or by email to

Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the service of the completion notice. Further information can be found online at

When a person appeals against a completion notice and the appeal is withdrawn or dismissed the completion date will be determined by the Valuation Tribunal.

Where a completion notice is not withdrawn and no appeal is bought against the notice, or any appeal that has been made is dismissed or withdrawn, then the date stated on the notice shall be the completion day in relation to the building.

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