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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22621
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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Back in 2011 I rented office but never managed to trade

Customer Question

Back in 2011 I rented office but never managed to trade there.My other business went down and in April 2012 I handed the keys to the landlord of the said office -terminated the agreement verbally.Since then the premises has been vacant and since 6 months I receive letters from bailiff for business rates for period AFTER I left!
I have written the council to say that I was not at the premises at during period chargeable but they say liability order was granted.
I have no contact with landlord and frankly he was not a nice person and if he confirms in writing I left the premises in April 2012 he will have to pay the liability.
He has send a fraudulent agreement to council as if I extended the tenancy hence I was there after april 2012.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

You may have handed the keys back to the landlord but it’s for the landlord to terminate the agreement, not you. Further, if the tenancy agreement was in writing, then a verbal termination is not sufficient.

For the purposes of rates, until the tenancy is terminated formally, then you are still responsible for the business rates because even though you are not physically in the building, you are still classed as the occupier.

It is a very common and perfectly legal tactic by a landlord who doesn’t want to be paying rates on an empty property, not to foreclose on a lease which is in arrears because of the landlord doesn’t foreclose on a lease which is in arrears, the tenant remains responsible for the business rates.

I am sorry that this is not good news for you.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I am sorry but from what you are writing I shall conclude that it is up to the landlord whether he decides to pay his rates or forward the liability to me for the vacant period of his shop. If I approach the landlord he would definitely confirm between two of us that the tenancy was then terminated BUT he would not confirm it to the council. Why was not he demanding rent from me since my vacation? Because he knew the agreement was terminated , yet he decided to forward a fraudulent agreement to the council as if we extended the tenancy. Are you saying this scam is a legal and common practise. People loose their businesses and at that point do not put attention on technicalities, sadly. Does that mean they have no defence against wrongful liability?
If this is a legal and common practise to be scammed this way then I am very scared for the future of my children.
Please note I was not aware of the hearing as I later found out that the post was going to the said premises and I obviously had no access to it.
I apologise but I am not satisfied with your response. The only way I would be satisfied is if you give me a tip or a link on how to set the magistrates court order of business rates. I presume there is a prescribed form and payment to be made.
Please kindly advise
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

Unless the landlord will confirm to the council that the tenancy was terminated or you can prove to the satisfaction of the council that the landlord is simply withholding this information but that it was the case that the tenancy had been cancelled, then the council will assume that you still had the lease and will chase you for the rates.

He doesn’t have to demand rent from you if he doesn’t think he’s going to get it.

I didn’t say that a fraudulent agreement is a legal and common practice. What I said is that if a tenant doesn’t pay rent, the landlord will not necessarily forclose on the lease but will simply leave the tenant to do whatever the tenant wants and leave the tenancy in place quite simply because the tenant is then liable for the rates.

The only time the landlord will foreclose on the lease in those circumstances is if he has another tenant would take it over and pay the rent as well as the rates.

If the original tenancy was for a fixed period of years, and that period of years had finished, then subject to you giving notice, would have no liability beyond the original period and if the landlord has produced a bogus tenancy agreement which covers more than the original period, that is fraud and is a matter for the police. If you refer the matter to the police, the local authority are likely to take a different view on this.

For the service of legal proceedings, the last known address is the correct address.

You would now be faced with applying to court to set aside to order on the basis that you didn’t receive the paperwork and that you have a defence to the claim by the local authority. From what you have said, I think it unlikely that if this order does get set aside and proceed to a full trial hearing, you would be successful.

As you are not happy I will opt out

Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.

I see that the previous expert opted out.

I have read the exchange and I can agree with what my colleague has said. You may not like the answer but that is the situation.

Is there anything further that we can help you with?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you. Like I mentioned in my previous e mail I order for me to substantiate your advice and gain satisfaction I kindly request you give me a tip on how to set the judgement aside ie if there is a prescribed form that can be downloaded and instructions in regards ***** ***** fee.
I will mostly appreciate it and thank you for your time and honest advice.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Please note I refer to magistrates court order for business rates liability hence rather setting the order aside / application to magistrates court
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you but it doesn't give any concrete information on how to submit the application to set the liability order aside, is there a prescribed form?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 months ago.

There is no prescribed form that I am aware of.

You would need to submit your application and the court will then decide if you want to use the Crown Court appeal form or a different form.