Liability to Pay Business Rates

The High Court has held that a landlord (as freehold owner) was liable to pay business rates for an empty property following disclaimer of the tenant’s lease.

The person “entitled to possession of the property” is liable to pay rates (sections 45(1) and 65(1) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988).

The court held that, following disclaimer, the landlord had an immediate right to possession even though it had not physically re-entered the property. This case is useful as it clarifies who is responsible for business rates following disclaimer of a lease.

Schroder Exempt Property Unit Trust and another v Birmingham City Council [2014] EWHC 2207‏

Written by James Naylor

Partner, CG Naylor LLP.