Generally, the occupier of the property is liable to pay the business rate charge. If the property is empty and not an exempt property, then liability is that of the person entitled to possession, usually the owner or leaseholder.
As the legislation states that the occupier is the liable party, tenants paying rate inclusive rent should take care. If the landlord does not pay the rates to the council then the tenant will be held liable and may need to take action against the landlord to recover monies paid.
Agreements between landlords and their tenants are a matter between themselves and are not binding on a local (or billing) authority in the event of any dispute between those parties.
Business rates collection policy
Non-domestic rates (also known as business rates) is an increasingly important revenue stream for local authorities, who are duty bound to ensure that the public purse is properly protected.
The collection policy has been written in response to the need to ensure that the administration and collection of business rates by Revenue Services (a shared service between Lancaster City Council and Preston Council), whose responsibility it is to administer and collect non-domestic rates for each authority, is carried out in a fair and consistent manner.
Last updated: 24 January 2019