You have to pay business rates for most business properties, including shops, offices, pubs, warehouses and factories.
They are even payable on such things as mobile phone masts, car parking spaces and the right to advertise on hoardings.
When the occupier is responsible for paying business rates
In most cases, the occupier has to pay the rates, so we will send the bill to that person.
If you are the occupier and you pass the bill to your landlord (or anybody else) to pay, you are still responsible for making sure the rates are paid.
If a property has more than one occupier, the Valuation Office Agency may split the rating assessment, so that each of the occupiers gets a bill for their part of the property. An example of this would be where office block is let out on an office-by-office basis and each of the occupiers has exclusive use of their offices for which they pay rent.
When you are jointly responsible for paying business rates
If one of the floors of an office block is open plan and occupied by a number of tenants, all of whom have the same tenancy agreement, each of those tenants is liable to pay the rates for the whole floor, not just the parts they individually occupy. This is known as joint and several liability.
When the landlord is responsible for paying business rates
If one of the floors of an office block is open plan and occupied by a number of tenants, each with separate tenancy agreements, none of the tenants is considered to have exclusive use of the whole floor. In these circumstances, the valuation officer may choose not to split the assessment, leaving the landlord responsible for paying the rates.
If a property is unoccupied, the rates must be paid by the person entitled to possession. This means that if a tenant takes over a property before moving in, or moves out of a property before the end of the tenancy agreement, the tenant is liable for any rates due for the empty property. For any period that the property does not have a tenancy agreement on it, the landlord is liable.