Warning to commercial landlords' over business rates

Commercial landlords could be left with liabilities for tenants' business rates even after a lease has expired, an expert has warned.
Chris AddisonChris Addison
Chris Addison

Chris Addison, a legal assistant specialising in commercial property litigation at regional law firm Napthens, warns this could also be the case if a tenant absconds and the landlord takes back possession of a property.

For instance, councils will often pursue the easiest target to collect business rates – often the landlord as they are easy to trace and may have the funds to satisfy a demand from a local authority.

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He warned that even if a landlord believes the rates are not their responsibility they should not avoid the issue. He said: “If the liability for business rates is transferred into a landlord’s name – without their permission – the council will send demands for payment followed by a final reminder. They may then apply to the magistrates’ court to issue a summons for you to appear. It is vital evidence is presented at that hearing to avoid a liability order being made.”

Enforcement options included attachment of earnings orders, removing goods to sell, statutory demands or prison.