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Business rates...when do I become liable?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by anonuk, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. anonuk

    anonuk UKBF Regular Free Member

    302 44
    We signed an agreement for a new business premises and have began moving things in to the property (with the agreement of the landlord). However, our lease hasn't actually begun yet as the landlord is doing work on the unit which needs to be done before the lease begins.

    I would like opinions on whether I am liable for business rates now (am I technically 'in occupation' as I have started moving things into the property), or will I be liable for business rates when my lease actually starts?
     
    Posted: Apr 8, 2020 By: anonuk Member since: Feb 27, 2014
    #1
  2. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    25,379 3,094
    You write to the council to inform them you now occupy xxx unit at that address and would like to register for business rates.
     
    Posted: Apr 8, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #2
  3. Alison Moore

    Alison Moore UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    718 149
    I would have thought though that you're not technically liable for rates until your lease commences.
     
    Posted: Apr 9, 2020 By: Alison Moore Member since: Aug 4, 2016
    #3
  4. anonuk

    anonuk UKBF Regular Free Member

    302 44
    That was my initial thought, but every website I look at states along the lines of "'Occupation' means occupation by goods or stock. Your occupied rate charge will start on the date you move goods into the premises, not the date you open for business."
     
    Posted: Apr 9, 2020 By: anonuk Member since: Feb 27, 2014
    #4
  5. kulture

    kulture UKBF Legend Staff Member

    8,150 2,260
    That is correct. Normally a landlord wil never let you into a property without a lease in place. This is unusual. But the rate liability lies with the occupier. Now if you tell the district that you are setting up, doing necessary work, and have NOT MOVED STOCK IN, then you may be eligable for zero rates for an empty property for a while.
     
    Posted: Apr 9, 2020 By: kulture Member since: Aug 11, 2007
    #5
  6. anonuk

    anonuk UKBF Regular Free Member

    302 44
    Thanks - I might try this approach and see what they say. The landlord is being great so far (I presume in an effort to keep me on side in the current circumstances).

    We signed an 'agreement for lease' in November last year but there's no current start date for the actual lease as the landlord is doing work specified in the agreement for lease. Part of that agreement is to fit built in furniture that we were providing so have moved said furniture into the premises and the landlord has fitted it. We are now also starting to move other stuff into the premises in an effort to move bit by bit seeing as we are unable to hire a van currently.

    I have read that 'empty' properties are exempt from business rates for 'the first 3 months' that the property is empty. The property has definitely been empty longer than 3 months as we first viewed it in September 2019.
     
    Posted: Apr 9, 2020 By: anonuk Member since: Feb 27, 2014
    #6
  7. kulture

    kulture UKBF Legend Staff Member

    8,150 2,260
    If the landlord is doing the work and you are just providing the materials (fixtures and fittings) I would argue that the landlord is still occupying the property
     
    Posted: Apr 9, 2020 By: kulture Member since: Aug 11, 2007
    #7