Who pays business rates?

The person or company in possession of a property is liable to pay business rates. This will usually be;

  • the leaseholder
  • the owner
  • the occupier of the property

Business rates are payable on both occupied and empty premises. Businesses need to make provision within their finances for paying business rates. Business rates is a priority debt and there can be serious consequences if the bill is not paid.

Occupied property

A property is occupied if you keep goods or stock on the premises.

The business rates charge will start on the date your lease begins. It does not start on the date you open for business.

The occupier of the premises is liable to pay business rates. This will usually be the owner or the tenant.

Sometimes a landlord may charge an occupier rent which includes business rates. This is a private agreement between the landlord and occupier. We will issue the bill in the name of the occupier as they are liable for payment. If it is not paid, we will take action against the occupier, not the landlord, to recover the amount due. You must discuss this with your landlord to establish that you are responsible to pay business rates. 

Unoccupied property

Business rates charges are due on empty properties. The person or company entitled to possession will be liable for the charge on the empty property.

Some properties may qualify for empty property relief